President Arthur Barclay
The 'father' of Liberia’s
Open Door Policy

President Edwin Barclay
1920 - 1930
Liberia's Open Door Policy
'The door set ajar'

President William Tubman
1944 - 1971
Liberia's Open Door Policy
at its zenith


Lessons from foreign investments in Liberia
Based on a study of the Open Door Policy

The following conclusions and recommendations are based on a study of Liberia's experience with concession agreements granted to foreign investors which covered more than 60 concession agreements. Continued

In the late 1970s Liberia had one of the best performing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. After the occasionally even double-digit growth rates of the 1950s and 1960s Liberia's economy began to slow down in the 1970s.
Also, it appeared that the social costs of the uneven distribution of the results of the economic growth began to create serious political tensions. Leaving the political consequences aside we will focus on the major conclusions which have been grouped as follows.

Liberia is on the eve of a new phase in its economic development, which very likely will again be based on external financing. This may be foreign aid (Official Development Assistance, ODA), or Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). For the sake of an independent national policy it may be useful to limit the dependence on foreign aid because of the conditions inherent to these funds. The Liberian Government may find it easier and more attractive to impose its policies and views on foreign investors. This increases the need to know what it wants, how it sees it can most effectively attract and deal with foreign private investors.
The following recommendations may prove useful in this respect.

  1. Basic changes in handling of concession affairs
  2. Acquisition by Liberians of more skill and experience
  3. Improvement of the concession policy

Concession agreements studied by the author:


© fpm van der kraaij