Measuring the pulse of Economic Transformation in West Africa
Senior country economist for Liberia
Patrick Hettinger has been the AfDB’s Senior Country Economist for Liberia since October 2011. He previously worked as an economist with the Central Bank of Papua New Guinea focusing on monetary policy implementation and research, at the International Monetary Fund preparing the World Economic Outlook, and as a small business development consultant in Senegal.
An August 2014 blog post during the escalation of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic in Liberia considered how, beyond the health crisis, the outbreak was having a significant impact on Liberia’s economy. Two years down the line, the threat of the virus has receded, yet the economy is facing other challenges, most prominently the drop in commodity prices. The country is at a critical juncture where it should increase attention on enabling the private sector to drive inclusive growth. This post is the first of a short series dedicated to Liberia to discuss some of the issues involved in the process.
With over 400 deaths in Liberia and more than 1,000 across West Africa, the Ebola epidemic has been the deadliest in history and has spread fear and panic across the region. But beyond the terrifying health crisis, the Ebola outbreak threatens to reverse much of the economic and social progress Liberia has made over its decade of peace. While GDP growth had averaged over 8% since 2011, it was already forecast to slow down to 5.9% in 2014 due to slower growth in iron ore production, weak timber and rubber exports growth, and the gradual drawdown of the United Nations force (UNMIL). However, restrictions on transportation and commerce, the withdrawal of international workers, a slowdown of investment, and a panicked population will further reduce growth this year. Containing the crisis rapidly will be critical to preserve the progress made, and to reduce risks to the short- and medium-term outlook.
- KPMG Africa Blog
- UN Women, West and Central Africa
- The Trade Post | Making international trade work for development
- Institute for Security Studies: West Africa
- Oxfam: West Africa blog
- CGD Policy Blogs | Center For Global Development
- NEPAD blogs | NEPAD
- blogAfrica | allAfrica
- Baobab | The Economist
- United Nations Office for West Africa
- Nasikiliza | World Bank in Africa