30 Jun 2022

Veneers of governance: lessons from Liberia’s growing vulnerability

This paper unpacks how the international community's efforts to strengthen Liberia's state institutions have created pathways for corruption.

Liberia is entering a period of enhanced vulnerability which may lead to a resurgence in crime.  The country has been hailed as a post-conflict success story: the guns of war have been silent since 2003, political violence is rare and governments are appointed through the ballot box. However, since 2015, the country’s governance indicators have steadily declined, and its lack of resilience to organised crime has diminished further. Therefore, it is urgent to analyse the current shortcomings of Liberia’s political economy, which has long featured elements of embedded criminality. Liberia’s trajectory highlights wider subregional implications and risks that are associated with post-war economies.

About the authors

Gregory Coleman is the founder of Sustainable Initiatives International (SII), which works to address community concerns. Previously, Gregory was Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Chairman of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCO), and Director-General of the National Bureau of Concessions. 

Ben Spatz has been working on Liberia since 2005, has served on the UN Panel of Experts on Liberia (including as the arms expert adviser), and previously acted as special adviser to the government of Liberia.

Photo: © A Radelich/Unsplash

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