Liberia held its second post-war presidential and legislative elections on October 2011, followed by a presidential runoff election in November 2011. Elections were widely credited as free, fair, and transparent by international observers, despite a boycott of the second round run-off by the main opposition party, the CDC. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated for a second five-year term as head of state in 2012. Weak judiciary and prosecutorial systems have provoked mob violence as citizens believe that redress through formal systems is futile. Violence against women, specifically rape, is high. Community, faith-based and nongovernmental organizations have, in the last decades, compensated for non-performing government services, but possess limited capacity to play an effective advocacy role in governance. A weak, resource-starved media struggles to play an effective watchdog function. Civic participation is inhibited by a high rate of illiteracy and poor road and communications infrastructure throughout the country.
Governance and Rule of Law
USAID’s Governance and Economic Management Support Program follows on the success of its predecessor, the Governance and Economic Management program and supports the government of Liberia to improve public administration. The Program works with targeted ministries and agencies to improve financial management and policy implementation across key ministries, agencies and commissions, strengthen the Liberian Institute of Public Administration to provide high-caliber, in-country training for Liberia’s civil servants, and reform concessions management.
To support Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation Justice and Security Pillar, USAID works on access to justice and information aimed at strengthening citizens’ participation in government. Through this effort, USAID works with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Traditional Council, and supports the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (passed in 2010), in partnership with “pilot” public institutions led by the Ministry of Information.
The Building Sustainable Elections Management in Liberia program builds upon the democratic progress made thus far and aims to increase the capacity of the National Elections Commission to efficiently, effectively, impartially, and sustainably manage elections in the coming years.
USAID support to civil society and the media strengthens the print and radio media in Liberia to increase civic participation in public affairs. USAID builds the capacity of CSOs and the media sector to provide avenues of participation and information sharing in seven targeted counties.
The Land Conflict Resolution Program promotes alternative dispute resolution and civic engagement with local leaders in five of Liberia’s most conflict-prone counties: Lofa, Nimba, Bong, Margibi, and Maryland counties.
Last updated: November 20, 2014