A Covert Facebook page named “Liberian Economy” runs daily propaganda against government investment drive

‘The “Liberian Economy” Website Is Spewing Dangerous Social Media Propaganda Which Undermines Government’s Foreign Investment Drive 

A Covert Facebook page named “Liberian Economy” runs daily propaganda against government investment drive

In early March 2023, the Liberian Economy appeared on Facebook with articles that seemed to praise Liberia’s rich natural resources.  

The page later gained an increased following due to massive boosting and sharing of its content across various Facebook pages.

A month later, the page stepped up a wave of propaganda against ArcelorMittal, cooking loads of misinformation and disinformation about the company’s amended Mineral Development Agreement pending ratification.

A journalistic investigation has established that the Liberian Economy’s propaganda spree is targeted directly and only at ArcelorMittal Liberia, the largest taxpayer and, arguably, the largest private employer in Liberia. It appears the dark website has been established with the sole intent of stalling negotiations between the government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal on restated terms in the amended MDA. This correspondently means stalling over three thousand jobs for unemployed Liberians, and over US$75 million in revenue to the government and people of Liberia. The domino effect of the misinformation campaign of the dark web, The Liberian economy, is incapacitating Government to improve the quality of healthcare, education, and the provision of other social services on which the lives of millions of Liberians depend.

Liberian Economy would, for example, publish an article falsely accusing ArcelorMittal of wanting exclusive control of critical Liberian Mineral infrastructure.

This propaganda is drawn from a portion of the 3rd amended Mineral Development Agreement, where the government and AML agreed for any other company to access and utilize the Yekepa – Buchanan rail, with ArcelorMittal being the operator.

It is public knowledge and clearly stated in the 3rd amended Mineral Development Agreement that ArcelorMittal supports multi-user arrangement, which means any other company, including companies like HPX in Guinea, can access and use the Yekepa – Buchanan railway and the seaport of Buchanan as deemed necessary only by the government of Liberia.

By this reasoning, one may ask the Liberian Economy, how can a company that wants exclusive control of Liberia’s mineral infrastructures settle to share infrastructure that they restored with other companies who have not invested a dime in making such assets operable? ArcelorMittal has and continues to demonstrate strong commitment and partnership with the government and people of Liberia as the largest contributor to Liberia’s revenue envelop and its generous contribution to development in its host counties, despite full payment of  County Social Development Fund as required by the MDA with the Government of Liberia.

The Liberian Economy seems not to be aware that ArcelorMittal has since 2006 invested more than $500 million to rebuild and make the railway operational; but even with this, the Company has supported using the rail along with others who have made zero investment in the Liberian economy.

ArcelorMittal has repeatedly said that the Liberian infrastructures belong to the people of Liberia and that the company believes multiple user arrangements for these assets will enable the government to collect additional revenue to solve key social and economic challenges of the country.

It is a hard time; the government of Liberia takes seize of the wave of propaganda embarked upon by this hidden hand and clandestine website and Facebook account against the wishes of the Liberian people.

This deliberate disinformation campaign not only discourages potential investors intending to start a business in Liberia, but it also has the proclivity to deepen Liberia’s economic nightmare.

The Liberian Economy’s propaganda which is clearly masterminded by companies with an interest in Liberia’s infrastructure could have a long-lasting effect on the economic advancement of the state.

When a certain group of people with questionable business dealings begins to say to the world that Liberia is on the verge of giving out exclusive control of state assets to a foreign firm, it creates panic for other businesses desiring to invest in the country. And these paints the Government of Liberia negatively when in fact, the information is grossly untrue.

This could potentially deny the country the opportunity of attracting significant foreign investments that could put Liberians to work, improve income and living standards and achieve overall development priorities.

No matter how the Liberian Economy’s disinformation campaign appears, it cannot be permitted to sail through, and relevant duty-bearers must ensure the hidden hands behind it are brought to book for promoting hate against the consecutive largest taxpayer in the country several years in succession.

Liberians, in their numbers, must reject and disagree with this propaganda which is only geared to manipulate for emotional appeal and mislead the vulnerable population without any benefit of two-way communication or fact-based debate.

Sufficient investigations have been carried out without indicating that the Liberian Economy website is operated in Liberia. Investigations have found that the website is entirely foreign-based and operated, with daily efforts to undermine the government of Liberia’s initiatives to attract investment to Liberia and lift its people out of poverty.

No Liberian should overlook what the self-style Liberian Economy is up to. A case in point is how on Friday, the Liberian Economy published an article blaming ArcelorMittal for last week’s violent attack on the company’s Tokadeh mines which left a company staff severely inquired and several properties damaged.

Such intentional misinformation only to spur negative propaganda is counterproductive for the image of the country and promotes hate and violence against the Liberian-based steel giant.

The operators of the Liberian Economy appear not to understand the gravity and implications of a group of thieves taking up arms and cutlasses against the largest taxpayer in the country.

How does this in any way relate to community engagement failure for which the Liberian Economy is seen promoting this in the name of propaganda against ArcelorMittal?

These dangerous publications are not mistaken but are well planned to deceive not just Liberians and the outside world with the aim of doing serious harm to the image of the country’s investment climate.

We can’t overemphasize here how the spread of such deception by the non-state actors behind the Liberian Economy web and Facebook pages could affect the image of ArcelorMittal, which has invested almost US$2 billion since the end of the Liberin civil crises and proposed an additional 1.2 billion in the new MDA.

The Liberian Economy and its handlers are even violating a broad range of rights of the Liberian People to be accurately informed as provided by the Freedom of Information Law (FOI) of Liberia.

They are undermining responses to public policies and amplifying tension in an already fragile state by and through their disinformation crusade against ArcelorMittal and the people of Liberia.

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