German international cooperation activities were carried out in Liberia until the outbreak of civil war in 1989. Since 2010, following a break in operations due to this conflict, GIZ has been represented by a regional office for Sierra Leone and Liberia based in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. GIZ activities in Liberia are carried out by 7 seconded members of staff and 98 national experts.
In recent years Liberia has experienced a sustained economic upturn as a result of increased exports and foreign investment. Although the country has achieved stability since the civil war, living conditions remain critical for the population in many areas. Over two thirds of Liberians live below the poverty line and over one third is considered undernourished. In 2011 Liberia was ranked 182 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index.
The country’s infrastructure is completely destroyed and rebuilding is slow owing to a lack of resources, building materials and skilled construction firms. The institutional apparatus is weak. There is a shortage of qualified workers. Corruption is endemic. The war has traumatised a great many people, leaving them estranged from their families and community and alienated from social norms and values. Over 80% of Liberians work in the informal economy and are therefore excluded from a regular wage and social benefits. Today more than one third of the population lives in the capital Monrovia in the hope of finding work there.
GIZ is currently implementing several projects in Liberia on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It supports the government and private sector, specifically with developing and expanding its road building programme. Since 2005 it has been helping with reconstruction and the improvement of living conditions, in particular in Lofa County, which was severely affected by the civil war.
A regional project commissioned by BMZ and geared to raw materials governance in the fragile states of West Africa is also being implemented in Liberia on account of the country’s large deposits of raw materials. Profits from the commercial exploitation of individual raw materials have helped finance civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone; even today this commercial exploitation has a destabilising effect in parts of the country. The aim of the project is to help improve the framework for a more equitable use of natural resources and to create greater transparency in the commodities sector.
On behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office, GIZ is implementing a project geared to the reform and strengthening of the justice sector.
Projects and Programmes
Governance and democracy
Environment and climate change
Economic development and employment