Liberia's Post-War Recovery: Key Issues and Developments [Updated January 30, 2008]   [open pdf - 411KB]

"This report, which is updated as events warrant, covers recent events in Liberia, a small, poor West African country. It held elections in October 2005, with a presidential runoff in November, a key step in a peace-building process following its second civil war in a decade. That war began in 1999, escalated in 2000, and ended in 2003. It pitted the forces of Charles Taylor, elected president in 1997 after Liberia's first civil war (1989-1997), against two armed anti-Taylor rebel groups. It also destabilized neighboring states, which accepted Liberian refugees and, in some cases, hosted anti-Taylor forces and became targets of the Taylor regime. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, an economist, won the presidential runoff vote, with 59.4% of votes cast and took office in mid-January 2006, becoming the first female president of an African country. […]. Most observers viewed the vote as orderly, free and fair. It fulfilled a key goal of an August 2003 peace accord that had ended the second civil war and led to an ongoing, U.S.-aided post-war transition process, which is bolstered by the multifaceted peacekeeping and development-focused U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Liberia's security situation is stable but subject to periodic volatility. Progress in governance under the interim government that preceded that of President Sirleaf was mixed; widespread corruption within it was widely reported. Liberia's economy and state structures remain devastated by war. Humanitarian conditions are improving. Liberia receives extensive U.S. post-war reconstruction and security sector reform assistance."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33185
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