Liberia Diaspora Investment Dialogue to Help Attract Investments for Economic Transformation

In support of the Liberian Administration’s ambitions to deepen engagement with the Liberian diaspora, the World Bank Group (WBG) together with the European Union recently hosted a Liberia Diaspora Investment Dialogue on the margins of the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC, USA.  The dialogue provided a platform for the Government to engage with Liberian Diaspora on the government’s vision to amplify financing for Liberia’s growth and development. It was an important step in pursuing President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s vision to attract diaspora investments in sectors vital to the country’s economic transformation.

The Dialogue, which brought together 112 participants comprising senior officials of the Liberian Government, the World Bank Group, the Liberian diaspora from the United States, EU and Africa, private sector, civil society and academia, provided a platform for the diaspora to share their views and expectations as current and prospective investors when considering Liberia as an investment destination. The event also exposed participants to lessons and models from countries that have been successful in attracting diaspora investment, ranging from Chile to Somalia.

The event featured three interactive sessions including panel discussions with senior government officials overseeing investment, business climate reforms, and economic growth; representatives from the World Bank Group and Liberian and African diaspora organizations; and representatives from the domestic and diaspora private sector. There was also an engagement with the diaspora community on the Liberia Diaspora Exchange platform. The critical role that the diaspora plays in the economy and the opportunity to leverage diaspora income for investment in Liberia was the focus of the discussion.

“The agenda of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is to rebuild a dynamic institution aimed at creating an enabling environment for competitive private sector-led growth and driving President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s overall ARREST agenda for inclusive and socioeconomic development,” said Commerce and Industry Minister of Liberia Hon. Amin Modad.

At the end of the Dialogue, it was noted that the Liberia Investment Finance and Trade (LIFT) Project funded by the World Bank is supporting the Government’s efforts to tackle constraints in Liberia’s business environment; enhance the investment climate – including reforms in trade, business registration and investment; and support the capacity of Liberian-owned businesses. As a next step, the World Bank, with support from the EU, will undertake a scoping study to better understand the profile of the Liberian diaspora community, their current investment trends, and appetite for future investment in Liberia with targeted completion date in June 2024.

“Liberia has the potential to deepen diaspora engagement to better harness opportunities in relation to remittances, investments, trade, and transfer of skills and knowledge. The Diaspora Dialogue looks beyond remittances to the potential for diaspora investment to make a positive difference while also boosting productivity and profit for investors,” said World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone Robert Taliercio. He strongly affirmed the relevance of the diaspora investment agenda for Liberia and encouraged participants to be pragmatic and ambitious – considering actions that can be taken in the short, medium, and long term.

Approximately 500,000 Liberians now live outside of their country, according to the International Organization of Migration. The most recent data on remittances published by Central Bank of Liberia point to the integral role of Liberia’s diaspora in the country’s economic performance and its prospects. Remittances have been increasing over the past five years. From 2019 to 2023 total net remittance inflow from the diaspora is US$1.17 billion. In 2023, total remittance inflow was just under US$400 million – that is equivalent to more than half of the national budget for 2023.

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