By John S. Morlu
In the decisive era of 1945 multilateral institutions, today Liberia stands at a pivotal moment, and Joe Boakai faces a crucial decision that could shape the nation’s destiny. Caution is paramount as he contemplates engagement with the familiar international players—the IMF, World Bank, UN, ADB, and the Corporate Council. The concern resonates in the repetitive nature of their playbook, lacking the vital elements of competitiveness and innovation necessary to break free from the chains of poverty.
For many Africans, the pursuit of Washington’s political corridors is deemed a political dividend, regardless of whether such endeavors benefit their people. Sirleaf basked in the adoration of the West and Washington, yet poverty and exposed infrastructure loomed large in Liberia.
While the workings of these institutions may elude most Americans and Western Europeans, Africans, especially Liberians, are acutely aware. Astonishingly, 90% of Americans and Western Europeans remain oblivious to the IMF, UN, or World Bank, in stark contrast to the heightened awareness among Africans. President-Elect Joe Boakai’s involvement in their events is acknowledged, yet skepticism persists over their ability to drive substantial progress in poverty eradication.
Prosperous nations like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE shun assistance from the IMF and World Bank, relying on their abundant resources. This raises a poignant question: Why does Liberia, with its rich endowment, consistently turn to these institutions?
In defiance of prevailing sentiments, Senator-Elect Amara Konneh expresses unabashed enthusiasm about engaging with the IMF and World Bank in Washington—a scenario all too familiar. However, a resolute path is urged for Joe Boakai, one that places paramount emphasis on a Business and Economic Forum designed to attract investments from successful black Americans in manufacturing, agriculture, technology, and Silicon Valley. The focus is clear—foster small-scale businesses and generate employment for all Liberians through free-market enterprise capitalism.
Joe Boakai champions the free market system as Liberia’s key to prosperity, emphasizing private capital and domestic resource mobilization as primary drivers. Multilateral institutions and donor agencies are relegated to supplementary funding sources. The initiative, “Liberians for Prosperity,” shouts commitment to market-driven solutions.
Amidst calls for alternative viewpoints on renewing the upcoming IMF program, the narrative vehemently leans toward rejecting renewal. Advocacy intensifies for a shift towards promoting domestic resource mobilization over dependency. Drawing inspiration from historical figures like George Washington, the call is for an audacious path in constructing a new Liberia. The ongoing battle revolves around influencing Joe Boakai’s choice between the donor-driven model and an unyielding commitment to an anti-corruption, private sector, and domestic resource approach.
Some clamor for another donor conference, but Liberians are exhausted by such events. Since 2004, donor dependency has persisted as the sole policy prescription for Liberia, and it’s time to break free. The emphatic call is to shift focus, urging a laser focus on the private sector.
Despite expected challenges, progress is undeniable. The spotlight sharpens on crucial matters such as auditing the Weah government, anti-corruption endeavors, asset recovery, and business loan repayments. A unanimous stand emerges among Liberians, with 92% acknowledging the urgency of shaping Liberia’s future.
Envisioning Joe Boakai on Wall Street, visiting JP Morgan, and engaging with rating agencies like Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, and Silicon Valley becomes more than a vision—it becomes a demand. These pillars of American enterprise are not merely avenues for exploration but integral to forging strategic partnerships for Liberia’s economic growth.
An unapologetic invitation extends to join the movement advocating for a liberated Liberia, founded on freedom and opportunity, with Joe Boakai as the unyielding catalyst. The message resonates with a personal commitment to justice and fairness, recognizing the relentless battle to shape Liberia’s future.
While acknowledging institutions like the IMF and World Bank, the call is emphatic—Liberia must forge its own path after 176 years, expanding its economy through unwavering anti-corruption measures and vigorous domestic resource mobilization. The only impediment to Liberia’s potential, preventing it from becoming a Kuwait, is corruption.
Join the unyielding free-market movement and passionately share the vision for Liberia’s economic independence.
About the Author: John S. Morlu, II, is former Auditor-General of the Republic of Liberia.