Ensuring macroeconomic stability, providing a foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth, and addressing weak governance are the tenets of the ECF-supported program. The COVID-19 pandemic was a painful setback, but economic activity should recover by end-2021 and prospects for growth in 2022 are favorable. Prudent monetary and fiscal policies allowed inflation to decline into the single digits. The authorities are addressing disruptive currency shortages through a comprehensive currency changeover operation. While the SDR allocation provides timely room for supportive policies without compromising macroeconomic stability, the authorities remain committed to their reform program and generally continue to implement the necessary measures.
Restoring macroeconomic stability, providing a foundation for sustainable inclusive growth, and addressing weaknesses in governance remain the main objectives of this program. While allowing for a slight fiscal loosening to meet humanitarian needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, tight monetary policy, much improved public financial management, domestic revenue mobilization, and zero central bank financing have supported the administration’s efforts to achieve price and exchange rate stability. This has helped to preserve the purchasing power of the poor who were the most affected by the high inflation environment at the program’s inception. The authorities consider bringing the ECF-supported program back on track of utmost importance and are committed to their development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
The Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development 2018 to 2023 (PAPD) is the second in the series of 5-year National Development Plans (NDP) anticipated under the Liberia Vision 2030 framework. It follows the Agenda for Transformation 2012-2017 (AfT). It is informed as well by lessons learned from the implementation of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy 2007 (iPRS) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy (2008-2011). The fundamentals underpinning the PAPD are: i) Liberia is rich in human and natural resources; but ii) is deprived of development largely because its human capital lacks the knowledge to transform the natural resources into wealth—whether through farming, mining, fishing, or other productive ventures that require technology or financial investments. Consequently, Liberia is relatively rich in natural capital but relatively poor in relations to its peers in both human and produced capital. Moreover, because of a legacy of entrenched inequality in access to development opportunities, widespread infrastructure deficits and pervasive poverty have become the binding constraints to future growth and prosperity.
Xiangming Fang, Siddharth Kothari, Mr. Cameron McLoughlin, and Mustafa Yenice
Sub-Saharan Africa has been marred by conflicts during the past several decades. While the intensity of conflicts in recent years is lower than that observed in the 1990s, the region remains prone to conflicts, with around 30 percent of the countries affected in 2019. In addition to immeasurable human suffering, conflicts impose large economic costs. On average, annual growth in countries in intense conflicts is about 2.5 percentage points lower, and the cumulative impact on per capita GDP increases over time. Furthermore, conflicts pose significant strains on countries’ public finances, lowering revenue, raising military spending, and shifting resources away from development and social spending.