LIBERIA AT A GLANCE
Population: 3.9 million (2011)
GDP per capita: $222 (2011)
The conclusion of long-running civil wars in 2003 ushered in an era of hope and democracy in Liberia, where Africa’s first elected female head of state is leading major reform efforts and winning back investors.
Years of violence have left Liberia with serious economic and social challenges, however, including badly-damaged infrastructure, and high unemployment and illiteracy rates.
IFC’s CASA Initiative is focusing its efforts in Liberia on supporting the growth of smaller businesses and on helping the country improve its investment climate. CASA is also working to increase access to education in Liberia.
Improving the Investment Climate
CASA helped Liberia develop a Commercial Code and Commercial Court, which are strengthening the country’s legal framework for commercial activities. The code and court are speeding the resolution of commercial disputes, enhancing the investment climate, and providing a strong foundation for future business growth.
Helping Smaller Businesses Grow
Through leasing, linkages, training, and access to finance programs, IFC is supporting the growth of Liberia’s smaller businesses. IFC helped Liberia design and launch a modern business registry that allows businesses to formalize in only 48 hours - a vast improvement from the 99 days the process used to take.
IFC’s Ventures Fund is providing equity and technical assistance to smaller businesses, while the Business Edge training program is helping Liberian businessmen and women gain the skills they need to succeed.
Strengthening Financial Markets
With a 13 percent equity stake, IFC is a founding shareholder in Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and has provided the bank with a $2 million trade finance facility that is boosting cross-border trade.
IFC also has an equity stake in Access Bank, tier 2 capital in Ecobank and trade finance lines with GT bank, and Ecobank.
Homes and businesses in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, are benefitting from power connections thanks to a public-private partnership facilitated by IFC and CASA. The project expects to connect more than 16,000 low-income families by June, 2013.