In Liberia, the counties hardest-hit by Ebola—Lofa, Bomi, Bong, Margibi and Montserrado—are both poor and food insecure. At least 16% of the households surveyed in them were found by a 2015 emergency food assessment to be food insecure, with 18% using emergency coping strategies—or, in other words, reduced to begging to meet their needs for food. And, yet, together these counties are home to about 51% of Liberia’s population of some 4.5 million. So what lies behind this food scarcity? Liberia’s subsistence farming makes it hard for Liberians to compete on the market with cheaper food imports, and agriculture has suffered as a result of the 2014 Ebola outbreak and prolonged civil crises.
By Errol Graham Parliament in session, Liberia. Photo credit: FrontPageAfricaOnline Some say natural resources are a curse, others say they are neither curse nor destiny (see here and here for examples). The jury may still be deliberating on the evidence but, in the meantime, resource-rich, income poor countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and others need to find their way forward. They have to be responsive to the enormous needs of their populations or face dire consequences.
The World Bank has approved supplemental financing of $16.36 million for the Third Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Operation (PRSDPO-lll) for Liberia. This operation will help respond quickly to the country’s urgent needs generated by the twin shocks of the Ebola and the sustained slump in global commodity prices, in addition to the impact of withdrawal of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). These factors have worsened the already sharp economic downturn, with severe adverse consequences for employment and fiscal revenues.
But it also weakened the country’s fledgling government DRIVING through the Liberian countryside, on a rare paved highway, two kinds of roadside sign catch the eye. One advertises local Protestant churches. The other sort advertises the splendid work done by aid agencies. USAID, the European Union, Japan’s development agency and others take credit for this youth programme or that forest rehabilitation scheme. An unscientific survey suggests that the Americans are winning the battle of the boards. But USAID does not command Liberia’s prime location. The capitol building in Monrovia, which is being enlarged, is plastered with China Aid signs.
Kenya is the latest country to become a member of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a leading pan-African multilateral development finance institution and project developer. Kenya is AFC’s 15th member and third East African member after Rwanda and Uganda. AFC’s other members are: Cape Verde; Chad; Côte d’Ivoire; Djibouti; Gabon; the Gambia; Ghana; Guinea-Bissau; Guinea; Liberia; Nigeria and Sierra-Leone.
The Government of Liberia and TIDFORE (Hong Kong) Investment (LICEMCO) have signed an agreement to establish a steel plant in Liberia. The plant will transform raw iron ore and lime stones into steel and cement. According to an Executive Mansion release, in remarks at the signing ceremony, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reflected on the history of Firestone and a number of iron ore mining companies that started investing in Liberia in the 1920s and 1950s and how they have not been able to add value to the raw materials from Liberia.
The Publishers Association of Liberia (PAL) has successfully adopted its revised Constitution to effectively guide its operation. More than thirty (30) members of the Association converged on June 23, 2017 at the offices of the Hot Pepper Newspaper on Coleman Hill, Monrovia to adapt the modified Constitution.
By Aneri Pattani, New York Times Aneri Pattani, a freshly minted graduate of Northeastern University, is the winner of Nicholas Kristof’s annual win-a-trip contest. She previously wrote about a fierce investigative journalist in Liberia. I considered leaving my suitcase at a government hospital in Liberia last week. It seemed the hospital needed its contents more than I did.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has ordered the temporary closure of the Bong County Technical College (BCTC) until September this year. She told aggrieved students of the college recently that during the closure of the school, she is going to overhaul the Board of Trustees and the Administrative management of the college to ensure their demands are met.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Saturday, June 24, 2017 fulfilled several donations to institutions and individuals as a result of promise made during her recent nationwide county tour. The donations included three TSV Motorbikes, one 5.5 KVA generator and one rice processing machine for female farmers of River Cess County.