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Liberia at the Crossroads
November 17, 2011 @ 11:30 am - 1:20 pm
International oil companies are rushing to acquire Liberian offshore concessions. With recent finds in Sierra Leone and production in Ghana, hopes are running high that oil will soon be discovered in Liberia. However, the Liberian Government currently has neither the laws nor the institutional capacity to govern what may be the country’s largest natural resource sector. The Government has begun reform efforts, working with partners from the U.S. and Norway. What is required of these reforms to ensure that Liberia is not again cursed by its natural resources, but will instead benefit from any oil it finds?
On November 8, Liberia held the second round of its general election: a crucial test for the country’s post-war political stability. Yet while the election’s first round has been characterized as generally free and fair, a boycott by the leading opposition party and violence on the eve of the runoff led to a very low turnout during the second round. What does this election say about the strength of the democratic process in Liberia and what impact will it have upon the next government’s ability to consolidate the country’s post-conflict reconstruction?
Presenting will be Dan Saryee, Liberian Democratic Institute, member of the Liberian Oil and Gas Initiative and special guest, Hon. Ambassador William V. S. Bull, Ambassador of the Republic of Liberia to the United States.
- Professor Carl Patrick Burrowes, Penn State University Harrisburg
- Dan Saryee: Executive Director, Liberian Democratic Institute
- George Wah Williams: Executive Director, Liberia Democracy Watch
Refreshments will be served.