Lessons from foreign investments in Liberia


  1. Basic changes in handling of concession affairs


The policy recommendations focus on four basic changes in the handling of concession affairs by the Government of Liberia:

  1. the setting up of an efficient administration with proper files,

  2. the training of staff personnel dealing with the concession sector and all related aspects,

  3. the clear formulation of Government’s principles and objectives as well as the methods to be used to realize them ,

  4. the eradication of corruption through the legal prosecution of those involved in corruption regardless of class, tribal background, family status, race or nationality.

These four recommendations are highly interrelated. To implement the first one, the second should also be realized. Furthermore, both parties involved, Government officials and employees, and the foreign business community, can only work efficiently when Government policies are clearly formulated, making it impossible to interpret them in more than one way and when they cannot be tampered with, neither by Government officials nor by investors. 

This will also require less Presidential powers and more involvement of a multi-party parliament guaranteeing a system of 'check and balances'. In 1983 the President could change or adjust the concession policy at will, parliament's role being one of approving it ('rubberstamp'). In the National Legislature conflicts of interests should no longer be allowed to exist. Thus, legislators should not be allowed to represent any foreign (or national) company or provide legal advice or assistance to such company.
The formulation of basic principles underlying the Government's policy with respect to the concession sector, of the objectives to be achieved and of the methods to be used, should be laid down in a ‘Plan of Action’.
Such a basic principle is the respect of existing rights of the people of Liberia. In the past, these principles have been violated too often, particularly during the Tubman Administration. Therefore, acceptance of this principle should be immediately accompanied by measures to restore the past infringement upon these rights if such is possible.

The quasi-disappearance of foreign investors as a result of the civil war may seem to make this recommendation redundant. However, the underlying principle is still valid.

These recommendations are based on a study of Liberia's experience with concession agreements granted to foreign investors which covered more than 60 concession agreements. The study was originally published in 1983 and covered the 1900 - 1980 period.
Liberia's Open Door Policy






















Lessons from
foreign investments
in Liberia



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