In recent years, the development community has become focused on how to stabilise fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS), not only to enhance economic development, but also to safeguard international security and stability. Political stability and accountability as well as economic stabilisation in FCAS are important in this endeavour. However, relatively few FCAS who have managed to move away from conflict achieve this.
This paper examines Liberia as one instance of a FCAS that, it is hoped, is making this transition. It concentrates on one particular aspect of economic renewal – the revival of private sector growth. Liberia is of particular interest because, although it remains fragile, it has made significant progress including establishing a stable democratic government. Further, it has set out an economic strategy that is well grounded in the country’s comparative advantages and has attracted significant donor support. Nevertheless, Liberia remains one of the poorest countries in the world and the barriers to moving beyond being a stable but poor country, towards economic prosperity, remain significant.