Liberia’s economic crisis and corruption could lead to violence

President George Weah is failing to boot corruption and help the poor

UNDER THE corrugated-iron roof of the Bong Intellectual Centre, a tea house in Gbarnga in northern Liberia, the air is thick with anger. Dozens of people sit on plastic chairs, discussing politics. They complain that their businesses are failing, corruption is rising and food prices have doubled in recent months. “The hungry man is an angry man,” says Augustin Jalla, a 55-year-old social worker. “If something does not change there’s going to be an uprising.”

That is alarming talk, in a country that suffered an on-and-off, 14-year-long civil war that killed about 250,000 people—almost a tenth of the population at the time—and destroyed the economy. Liberia’s conflict also devastated the region. The country’s former president, Charles Taylor, started or fuelled wars in three neighbouring countries: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast.

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