Philadelphia, PA, USA- March 19, 2019: Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa increased from about $41 Billion in 2017 to $45 billion (Forty-five billion United States Dollars) in 2018, according to a 2018 World Bank Report.
The report indicated that Nigeria, which is considered as the largest recipient of remittances in Sub-Sahara Africa, received more than $25 billion followed by Ghana which received $3.8 billion, Senegal $2.7 billion dollars and Kenya $2.1 billion dollars respectively.
One noticeable variable is that the three Sub-Sahara African countries, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal, that account for the larger portion of the remittances in 2018 have adopted policies that embrace dual citizenship and economic measures that enhance Diaspora confidence.
For example, the “Diaspora Nigerians Back To Nigeria Policy” that encourages Diaspora investments, and the “Ghana Open For Business Campaign” that targets Diaspora Ghanaians combined to reflect the increase in remittances to those countries.
According to the report, in 2018 remittances to Liberia netted $433 Million which represents about 76% of the West African country’s national budget down from $555 Million remitted to the West African nation in 2012.
In contrast to Nigeria, Ghana Senegal, Liberia rejected a dual citizenship proposition during a National Conference in the central city of Gbarnga during the Sirleaf administration.
Since his election about a year ago, attempts by President Weah to push for changes to the country’s citizenship laws to provide for dual citizenship for Diaspora Liberians is facing firm opposition in the West African country’s National Legislature. President Weah, in his State of the Nation address on January 28, called for the consideration of his dual citizenship bill that is pending in the Legislature.
Liberian Leader George M. Weah
Besides, African Star, in its recent commentary asserted that Liberians are playing the “waiting game” with the expectation of a Grand National economic redemption by the United States and the international community.
However, the stark reality is that the unfortunate elements of donor fatigue, the country’s non-strategic posture, lack of credible national and economic support systems and poor fiscal management make for an unattractive courting by the international community.
The attempt at not projecting a “doom and gloom” characterization of the West African country is a real struggle because the truth can be “inconvenient and harsh”. The bold face truth is that the Government is really struggling to meet expectations.
The general sentiment among most Liberians is to remain hopeful and resilient because the alternative is depressing. But the bare facts are that it will take more than hope and wishful thinking to wrest the country from the downward spiral and economic depravity that are impacting the country in these modern times.
The George Weah’s government which clocked one year at the helm of governance on January 22, 2019, is struggling to project its best face but the head-winds of lack of technical capacity and qualified personnel coupled with inexperience are a drag on national progress.
Liberian Dollar Notes
The harsh reality is that Liberia which is struggling to mobilize liquidity, in a country where foreign exchange shortage appears to be pushing the economy into crisis, cannot afford to see an evaporation of remittances from the country’s Diaspora population. Some Diaspora Liberians appear reluctant to continuously remit huge sums of money to a country that seems to reject or refuse them dual citizenship rights.
In the midst of these uncertainties, President Weah is striving to keep the Liberian Diaspora population, especially those in the United States, closer to his administration because his government cannot imagine the disappearance of Diaspora remittances.
According to the United Nations, Liberia has over the years used remittances to the country as collateral to obtain foreign loans for various purposes which makes Diaspora remittances a significant component of the West African nation’s economy.
Source: Kai G. Wleh |African Star