Opinion By Alvin Sehkar
In 1847, Liberia (Land of the Free) declared its independence. Blessed with natural resources including gold, diamonds, timbers, iron ore, rubber and so on, Liberia was once considered one of the most stable African countries until the civil war broke out in 1989. To make matter worse, our beloved country is currently ranked as the 4th poorest country in the world (Global Finance). Ironic right? How could a country blessed with the aforementioned natural resources; a country which was once, one of the most prosperous black republics in the 1950s be ranked amongst the top 5 poorest countries in world?
Speaking of being ranked as the 4th poorest country in the world, Let’s take a quick look at some important stats about Liberia. According to the CIA Factbook, Liberia is a low income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance. The unemployment rate as of 2003 was estimated to be 85% with 63.8% (2007 est.) of the population living under the poverty line. Looking at these stats; makes it very easy to understand why, some of our brothers refuse to buy into the clause , “Liberia is getting better”.
Now, it’d be a disservice to downplay some of the few developmental initiatives that have been taking place in Liberia. It is undoubtedly a good thing to see a paved Monrovia-Nimba highway and other initiatives. That said, our country, as old as it is, deserves better. Mediocrity has been ingrained within our society for far too long. Most of our people have been subjected to abject poverty. As a result of such, they see these microscopic developmental initiatives a big deal. My suggestion is the above clause/saying be used with a specific yardstick. A yardstick that will shed more lights while giving a details description of said phrase. Using it vaguely is somehow misleading. Again, while we acknowledge the miniature developmental initiatives in Liberia, we’re obliged to highlight the fact that our country remains far being the rest of the world.
We are not a fraction close to where we ought to be. These are facts that cannot be denied!
From a humanitarian perspective, Liberia is definitely not getting better for the people in rural Liberia; at least not the parts of Liberia I’ve visited recently. It pains my soul when folks use Monrovia and its surroundings as the main source to gage any form of development in Liberia. I’ve said this before and will continue to say it- Monrovia is not the entire country. While the few elites sit in Monrovia and enjoy what they often refer to as “Liberia is getting better”, we have Liberians in rural Liberia who have no access to QUALITY EDUCATION, SAFE DRINKING WATER, GOOD ROADS, AND OTHER BASIC NEEDS.
The reality is, Liberia remains far behind the rest of the world. We have more work to do. The country might be getting better for a small and pocket-sized portion of the population. The truth is, MOST of our people remain below the poverty lineWith all these facts and data, it’s fairly safe to conclude that, till everyone gets a fair share of the pie, I vehemently refuse to accept and agree with the saying or thought that “Liberia is getting better”. Here are some solutions suggested by the United States CIA Factbook. “Revitalizing the economy in the future will depend on increasing investment and trade, higher global commodity prices, sustained foreign aid and remittances, development of infrastructure and institutions, and maintaining political stability and security.” In other words, Liberians in the Diaspora and around the world, regardless of their citizenships statuses, will have to play a big role in rebuilding our beloved country. So, please spare our sanity with your Dual citizenship debate. I’ll save this for a different threaded discussion.