Liberia is richly endowed with natural resources including water, mineral resources, forests, and has a climate favourable to agriculture. While the nation’s complex history has previously limited infrastructure and urban growth there are now indicators that sectors such as energy, mining, ICT, and transportation are on the rise with positive investment and political commitment underpinning long-term goals.
Liberia is in a transitional phase, emerging from a post-conflict society to a developing country; there have been big efforts made to attract private investors and to reduce corruption. The incumbent government is making gains in aligning Liberian politics, economy, and institutions for development of the country and this is creating opportunities for international stakeholders to increase their presence and support Liberia in realising it’s potential.
Bilateral relations between Sweden and Liberia have been strong for many years and Sweden has been one of Liberia’s largest donors of foreign aid. This relationship has evolved from the historical donor position to active development investment. In December 2020, a decision was taken by the Swedish Cabinet to commit SEK 1.85 billion to a five-year Swedish Development Co-operation with Liberia. The strategy, running from 2021-2025 spans several developmental areas including support for inclusive economic development.
The economic potential of Liberia is considerable and Swedish companies have the potential and scope to contribute with value and solutions to help the market progress in the right direction and boost already emerging sectors.Liberia is a nation in development, the decisions and investments made today will reverberate for many years to come. Getting it right now is imperative.
FOUR SECTORS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ENERGY, MINING, ICT, AND TRANSPORT
Studies of Liberia’s energy sector demonstrate vast opportunities for investment, huge hydropower potential and strong scope for solar energy. Several projects financed by the EU and the multilateral development banks are underway, offering excellent opportunities for Swedish companies to participate in the affiliated procurement processes.
The country’s natural resources offer great economic potential and in the mining industry and Swedish companies could contribute significantly in the vast transition needed to create a more sustainable industry. The importance of this transition goes beyond economic gains and reduced environmental damage; in Liberia, it is also a question of social sustainability and human rights. Swedish presence in the 1960s, through the Liberian America Swedish Mining Company (LAMCO), has generated goodwill in Swedish-Liberian relations.
Information & Communications Technology
While ICT is still an emerging sector in the country, it contains big growth potential. In January 2020, there were four million mobile connections in Liberia, equivalent to 83 per cent of the population, while mobile connections increased by 32 per cent between 2019 and 2020. There are also development strategies and roll-out plans to digitalise registration and acquisition of several services including national identification cards, driver licenses, passports, and residence and work permits. Swedish companies have the expertise and strategic knowledge that will be invaluable to help Liberia’s e- governance momentum and possibly expand the frontier.
To enhance economic, as well as social development in Liberia, transport is a fundamental component. It is estimated that approximately USD 160 million, close to eight per cent of GDP, is spent on roads and bridges every year. The National Transit Authority (NTA) of Liberia is open for public-private partnerships to improve its fleet of buses and bus terminals, and to expand the in-land road transportation network in Liberia. Given the paramount importance of a good transport system, this along with the required infrastructure, present large-scale investment opportunities for foreign stakeholders, and several bilateral and multilateral donors are engaged in the road sector.
The future of Liberia is being defined and the investments and strategic direction taken now will shape the country for generations to come. Business Sweden and the Embassy of Sweden in Liberia have co-created a report examining Liberia’s current situation and potential for growth with special emphasis on opportunities for Swedish companies, as well as strategic considerations and recommendations for successfully navigating the market conditions.
Our report, Liberia: a market on the rise provides detailed analysis and exploration of Liberia’s current and future growth opportunities.
Contact us today for a copy of our report or to discuss your next steps.