Liberia is rich in natural resources, notably iron ore, diamonds, gold, timber and rubber. All of these sectors suffered dramatically during the civil war that ended in 2003. During the 14 years of war, all major mines were closed and the mineral sector’s contribution to the economy was reduced to a negligible level. In 2010, Liberia made significant progress in reviving the mining sector, which before 1990 had contributed more than 65% of the country’s export earnings and represented about 25% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) (Source: FIRST Magazine). According to the African Economic Outlook 2014, mining contributed 2.4% of GDP in 2011, which is up from less than one per cent in immediate post-war years.
The mineral commodities produced included cement, diamond and gold. Liberia’s undeveloped mineral resources included base metals, such as cobalt, lead, manganese, nickel, and tin, and industrial minerals, such as dolorite, granite, ilmenite, kyanite, phosphate rock, rutile, silica sand and sulfur. The agriculture sector continues to be the leading contributor to growth followed by the services sector. The mining sector’s contribution to growth has tripled (from 3.7% in 2011 to 10.4% in 2012) due to an expansion of iron ore production (Source: FIRST Magazine). The current Ebola outbreak is having an impact of mining operations and economic growth.
Liberia’s 5th EITI Report covering the fiscal year 2011/12 was published in June 2014. The report covers the oil, mining, agriculture and forestry sectors. Total revenue was roughly US $110 million, of which mining contributed 52%, agriculture 25%, oil 13% and forestry 10%. Read the report here.
Liberia is using the EITI process innovatively to investigate key areas of concern – particularly whether contracts were allocated correctly, but also whether companies paid what they should and whether earmarked funding went where it should.
Liberia has conducted an audit, investigating to what extent procedures were followed on the awarding of concessions, contracts, licenses and other rights between July 2009 and December 2011.
Generally data collection systems are weak, which affects the reliability of data. However, there is more information becoming available through the government cadaster system. There is considerable scope to integrate the EITI production and revenue data with the cadaster system.
Strategic two-year work plan on incentivizing EITI implementation (for the period covering July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2014)
EITI-specific law: LEITI Act of 2009 www.leiti.org.lr/uploads/2/1/5/6/21569928/act.pdf.
- Disaggregated data by company and revenue stream.
- Coverage of forestry and agriculture sectors.
- High quality summary report, widely distributed throughout the country.
- Contracts for concessions in the sector are published www.leiti.org.lr/contracts-and-concessions.html.
- Staff at Liberia EITI discovered that the procedure for awarding oil and mining contracts appeared not to be consistently followed. They therefore decided to perform what they called a “Post Award Process audit”, which looked at 68 contracts that had been awarded.
- Liberia is piloting beneficial ownership.