IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Reviving Economic Growth in Liberia

Listed author(s):
  • Steve Radelet


Registered author(s):

    Liberia was decimated by 25 years of gross economic mismanagement and 14 years of brutal civil war. GDP fell by over 90% in less than two decades, one of the largest economic collapses in the world since World War II. This paper explores the challenges in reinvigorating rapid, inclusive, and sustained economic growth in the post-war environment. It stresses the importance of not just re-igniting growth, but rebuilding the economy in a way that avoids the substantial income concentration of the past and creates significant economic opportunities to groups that were marginalized and excluded in the past. It examines the new government’s progress so far, including the major steps it has taken in its first 18 months and the unique way that it has organized government-donor relations. The paper traces the extent of Liberia’s collapse compared to other African countries, and examines the patterns of post-conflict recovery in several other African cases as a basis for examining the potential for renewed growth in Liberia. It suggests that Liberia’s recovery is likely to proceed in three phases (i) an immediate phase driven by donor flows and a rebound in urban services, (ii) the renewal of traditional natural resource-based activities, and (iii) medium-term development of downstream processed products, other manufactures, and services that can compete on global markets. The paper argues that the single highest priority for the economy is rebuilding infrastructure, and especially roads, which are crucial to nearly every aspect of Liberia’s recovery: maintaining security, connecting farmers to markets, creating jobs, opening concession areas, reducing costs for manufacturing, and effectively delivering basic health and education services. Financing road construction is a major challenge, however, since most donors provide relatively little financing for roads compared to other activities. Other key issues are effectively managing natural resource production in order to gain the key benefits and avoid some problems that other countries have faced, improve the business climate, and invest in education and training programs to improve the skills of Liberian workers over time.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 133.

    in new window

    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2007
    Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:133
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    2055 L Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington DC 20036

    Phone: 202.416.0700
    Fax: 202.416.0750 |
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:133. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Publications Manager)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.