Liberia booming but still needs UN peacekeepers: country's president
By Alphonso Toweh, ReutersMONROVIA -- Investments in mining, agriculture and oil will push Liberia's economic growth into double-digits within five years, but it will still need U.N. peacekeepers to help keep order until 2017, the president said.
August 20, 2013, 1:56 pm TWN
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the end of 14 years of on-off civil war, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told Reuters peace, investment and an eightfold-fold increase in government revenues were concrete signs of recovery.
But corruption remained a problem, and the huge numbers of unskilled young people — many of them still traumatized by the conflicts — would threaten stability until they got more opportunities, she said.
Two wars between 1989 and 2003 killed about 250,000 people and led to a complete collapse of the state. It was carved up by warlords who often used child soldiers and fought over control of diamond and timber concessions.
The West African country — stabilised by a U.N. peacekeeping mission and under of the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize winner Sirleaf since 2006 — is slowly recovering and has since lured major investors.
“There is no quick fix in recovery ... We have not reached where we want to (be) but the results are underway,” Sirleaf said on Saturday in her office.
The former World Bank official said annual government revenues were now around US$600 million, up from US$80 million when she came to power. There had been more than US$16 billion in foreign investment under her tenure and the 7.2-percent growth forecast for 2013 was conservative, she added.
“We can do much better than 7 percent. We are heading for double digits,” she said. Existing mining projects, which account for 60 percent of revenues, would be boosted by agriculture and the potential of the oil sector.