Economic Development

Liberia: Proposing a National Education Conference

Given the shocking headlines of recent days, regarding the mass failure of applicants who sat the examinations for admission to the University of Liberia and taken into account the ongoing downward trend of Liberia’s education system, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said it is imperative to speak about the quality of education in schools today. President Sirleaf recalled that those of her age, who are old enough to remember, can look back fondly on their school days, and say they are proud of the quality education received. She said the educational system was then highly competitive and demanding where the schools, teachers, students and even the region competed for excellence. The Liberian leader noted that indiscipline and insolence were dealt with very firmly while cheating and other vices inimical to progress and productivity were not tolerated. Delivering the 14th commencement convocation of the Catholic- owned Stella Maris Polytechnic on Friday August 30, 2013, at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville City, Dr. Sirleaf explained that while government applauds the establishment of many institutions of learning, it is also concerned about the quality of training in all institutions. The Liberian leader told the audience and the graduating class that government recognizes that it is not sufficient to simply turn out graduates like an assembly line; rather, it is imperative to graduate young people who have received the quality of education that makes them marketable in the private sector. Similarly, Central Bank of Liberia’s Executive Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones has said that it is important to have the will to hold accountable those responsible for reforming Liberia’s education system. Governor Jones said it cannot be overemphasized that quality education is sine qua non for development […]

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    Liberia: ‘Liberia’s Development Relies On You’ – USAID Mission Director Tells Private Sector Liberia: ‘Liberia’s Development Relies On You’ – USAID Mission Director Tells Private Sector

    Liberia: ‘Liberia’s Development Relies On You’ – USAID Mission Director Tells Private Sector

Liberia: ‘Liberia’s Development Relies On You’ – USAID Mission Director Tells Private Sector

The newly-appointed Director for Mission to Liberia at the United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID) says Liberia’s development greatly relies on the private sector therefore; the government cannot operate properly by itself without the assistance of the private sector. Remarking Tuesday, August 13, 2013, at the opening of a two-week trainings organized by the United States Agency for International Development (IESC\IBEX program) in Monrovia for commercial bankers, SMEs and TOT, Mr. John Mark Winfield revealed that health, agriculture, education, energy among others are key sectors in the development of a country that cannot be done alone by central government. Said Mr. Winfield: “The development of Liberia like any other country is implacably linked to you. It’s linked to the private sector and its ability to make a contribution to the development of a country. It cannot do without investors; it cannot do it without strong business plans. We are supporting small medium enterprises because they are key to the development of Liberia.” Speaking behalf of the Central Bank Governor, the Director for regulation and supervision department at the CBL Mr. Mussah A. Kamara thanked USAID Liberia for its continue support to the rebuilding process of Liberia. Mr. Kamara said there is a need to improve the current credit culture that exist in the Liberian banking environment, noting that dealing with the problem of nonperformance loans and poor credit culture requires a comprehensive strategy to cleanup bank balance sheets and make them fully responsible for their lending operations. Said Kamara: “To achieve this therefore, the CBL has instituted and continues to institute series of measures to address the poor credit culture in the country. In this light, the CBL has issued a directive to banking […]

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    Sime Darby gets nod to clear land in Liberia Sime Darby gets nod to clear land in Liberia

    Sime Darby gets nod to clear land in Liberia

Sime Darby gets nod to clear land in Liberia

MONROVIA: Palm oil giant Sime Darby has received the green light from villagers in western Liberia to clear 5,000 ha of land for a plantation, after a non-governmental organisation have accused it of a land grab. A memorandum, signed at a ceremony in Grand Cape Mount County on Friday, gave villagers’ blessing for the company to develop the land with oil palm and rubber. It was witnessed by Liberian officials, civil society and traditional elders. Environmental lobbyist Friends of the Earth has accusedSime Darby of harming biodiversity and depriving farmers of their livelihoods with its development in the west African country. The company denied the accusation. Sime Darby has signed an agreement with Liberia to develop about 220,000 ha of land for 63 years. However, it has met resistance from some locals who accused the company of not properly informing them of the scale and implications of the project. — Reuters Source: Site

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    Liberian Ambassador: “Rebuilding Takes a Long Time.” Liberian Ambassador: “Rebuilding Takes a Long Time.”

    Liberian Ambassador: “Rebuilding Takes a Long Time.”

Liberian Ambassador: “Rebuilding Takes a Long Time.”

Winston-Salem residents sat in rapt attention at a Town Hall-style meeting Saturday as Liberian Ambassador Jeremiah C. Sulunteh spoke about his country’s war-ridden past and the rebuilding process for the future. Sulunteh was in Winston-Salem last week by invitation of the Liberian Organization of the Piedmont, a non-profit organization that supports community programs in Winston-Salem and Liberia. Sulunteh said a partnership with Winston-Salem will be crucial in Liberia’s rebuilding process following the recent period of civil wars in the country. The country has been plagued by civil wars since 1989. The Second Liberian Civil War concluded in August, 2003, but he said that the country is still recovering. “Destroying something is so quick, but rebuilding takes a long time,” he said. “The wars killed 250,000 of our people, and hospitals and schools were burned down, destroying the fabrics of our country. Through the help of our friends in the U.S., we have been able to secure peace in Liberia.” Sulunteh expressed the need to strengthen Winston-Salem’s existing relationship with its sister city, Buchanan in Grand Bassa County, Liberia, which he said would be advantageous for both cities. Sister cities are formed by an agreement of cities in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. Buchanan, one of five of Winston-Salem’s sister cities, has been partnered with Winston-Salem since 2011 . “The agreement to become sister cities was signed in 2011, and now we have to exploit the potential the partnership can offer the two cites,” said James Hunder, president of the Liberian Organization of the Piedmont. “The ambassador being here can help jumpstart that process.” Forsyth Technical Community College already has a relationship with Grand Bassa Community College, as a result […]

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    Liberia Among World’s Fastest Economies Liberia Among World’s Fastest Economies

    Liberia Among World’s Fastest Economies

Liberia Among World’s Fastest Economies

A new report released by the World Bank places Liberia amongst the world’s fastest growing economies. Liberia’s latest upward movement amongst the world’s top economies, according to Madam Shanta Davaranja, World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, comes as a result of recent discovery and development of natural resources in the economies of said countries as well as direct foreign investments. “In 2012, about a quarter of African countries grew at 7 percent or higher and a number of countries, notably Sierra Leone, Niger, Cote’ d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Rwanda, are amongst the fastest growing in the world” Madam Devaranja disclosed in Monrovia Monday through a video conference gathering that received huge attention across the globe. “Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to reach more than 5 percent on average in 2013-2015 as a result of high commodity strong consumer spending on the continent, ensuring that the region remains amongst the fast growing in the World” the World Bank’s latest Africa Pulse, a twice yearly analysis of the issues shaping Africa’s economic prospects, said in its latest global economic ranking. Despite attractive growths in the economies of these countries, the World Bank said in its report Monday that more needs to be done to reduce poverty on the African continent. Although Governments in Africa have shown some positive attitudes that have led to the cutting down of poverty rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, the World Bank said that Less Poverty significantly remains elusive. In order to tackle the issue of poverty reduction on the African continent, WB suggested that African governments must invest in the informer sector, particularly agriculture, since in fact, “about 79% of poor African communities are mainly surviving on agriculture.” “Welcoming […]

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    Mud Huts: Resourcefulness of the People Observed Mud Huts: Resourcefulness of the People Observed

    Mud Huts: Resourcefulness of the People Observed

Mud Huts: Resourcefulness of the People Observed

During our most recent trip to Liberia, Africa, the Sahbu team spent most of the trip on a 6 day backpack adventure deep into the jungle. One of the things we became curious about was the methods of building construction. There were many small towns deep in the jungle that we visited along our trek . Most of them were not accessible by vehicles of any kind due the impossibility of crossing the rivers. The only means of crossing the river was by manmade canoes and thus everything must be carried by hand including food, clothing, and of course building materials. The buildings, or “mud huts” as they are called, are built from the only materials readily available. First long straight sticks are collected from the jungle. Bamboo was used typically.   The sticks were lashed together in a grid spacing the sticks about 10’’ horizontally and vertically. With the grid complete, the native soil was mixed with water to create a mud that would be packed into both sides of the grid. This type of building was expected to last 10 to 15 years after which a fresh mud pack would be in order. Towns closer to the difficult river crossings often had corrugated metal roofs. Carrying the metal to the towns further from the river was not practical and those roofs were made of palm leaves. We especially enjoyed the palm leaf roofs and their picturesque qualities, but much more upkeep is required if they are to keep out the heavy rains of the African jungle!

The Economic Development in Liberia

Liberia has struggled since its 14-year civil war ended in 2003. Some would say there is no infrastructure, and the infrastructure that’s starting to be put in place isn’t high enough quality and isn’t coming soon enough. At the end of the war, with issues including  corruption, abuse and misuse of resources, the United Nations had to step in and take control. Many fear that if the UN pulls out of the country, the war would rise up once again. For those living in the very rural villages in the Liberian bush, not much has changed. Across the St. Paul to an area in Bong County, people still live in mud huts with thatched roofs, and have no means of transportation except by foot. Many of the services including schools and clinics are almost non-existent. Students who want to go to school beyond the 4th grade have to travel very long distances, including hours of walking and having to cross deadly waters. Farmers have a difficult life as they try to grow the necessary resources to stay alive. In order to grow certain products, the jungle must be burned to clear out the land.  After seeds are planted and products harvested, they have to do it all over again in a completely different parcel. The knowledge of refertilization hasn’t been introduced to these people yet. During our recent trip to Liberia, our eyes were opened to this economic development issue.  Sahbu wants to increase economic development by helping these Liberians understand the resources they have and how to better utilize time and how to produce greater quantities of product. Liberia is rich with many resources and we want to help them achieve their goals of […]