Photo: Yudawhere Jacobs
Improved investment climate creates new jobs
The fourteen years of civil war in Liberia ended in 2003 when a peace agreement was signed. Since then peace has prevailed, but it is fragile. The country needs stability and economic growth, and the people of Liberia need jobs and the opportunity to escape poverty. With a very young population – almost half are under the age of 15 – economic growth that includes the poor majority of the population is essential for continued peace and prosperity in the country.
In Liberia, Sida and the IFC cooperate through a programme aimed at improving the investment climate, access to financial services and the capacity of small businesses. The goal is to develop the country's private entrepreneurship and business life for increased employment and economic growth. The programme was started in 2006 and Sweden joined with support from 2008. This has resulted in Liberia's government being supported in their work with improving, simplifying and reforming the legislation and regulatory framework for investments and entrepreneurship. Simplified company registration, clearer procedures for trade and the formation of collaborative bodies between the State and business life are some examples of the results of the programme.
Sida is cooperating with the International Finance Corporation.
Between 2011 and 2013, Sida is contributing SEK 62 million to the programme through the IFC. Sida is, as yet, the only financier during this expansion phase of the programme, where the work with improving the investment and business climate as well as the preconditions for business development have been significantly expanded.
The reforms that the programme supports have led to several clear improvements in Liberia:
- Between 2008 and 2010, close to 20,000 new jobs have been created by 4,000 companies.
- Approximately 12 million dollars has been invested in the private sector
- Cost savings corresponding to 4.7 million dollars have been made within the private sector.
- Liberia has climbed up the World Bank's annual "Doing Business" ranking from 177 to 149, thus becoming 2010's "Top 10 Global Reformer".