Liberia is at a critical stage in its peace building and development process, given the multiple challenges the country is facing. One of the key challenges is insecure tenure and the absence of a functioning land administration system. Secure tenure is a prerequisite for increased productivity, dispute resolution, strengthened business environment, women’s empowerment, and revenue generation. The Government of Liberia has recognized the importance of secure tenure and has established the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) in 2016 and passed the Land Rights Act (LRA) in 2018.
The governments of Cameroon and Ghana wanted to use oil and gas revenues more effectively to promote economic growth and reduce poverty. They also wanted to improve transparency and accountability in the sector. However, Cameroon and Ghana, as well as many other African countries, have had difficulty managing and sustaining the windfall wealth and savings from their natural resources.
The dismantling of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s led to the near collapse of the Armenian diamond cutting industry, which after a brief period of growth in the early 2000s has again declined. To rebuild the industry using global best practices and to increase access to raw diamonds, the Armenian government contacted the World Bank. Meanwhile, Lesotho had identified the diamond industry as a potential source for growth and had commissioned three diamond mines. The government also wanted to attract foreign direct investments and train high-skilled local labor to add value downstream.
The governments of Africa want to improve the investment climate and reduce poverty in their countries through modernization and industrialization. Learning from the Asian experience, many governments are developing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to achieve these goals. Chinese knowledge, experience, and investment have been invaluable in developing these zones. However, most African countries still lack the infrastructure to make such SEZs effective and competitive on international markets.
After learning about the success of East Asian countries in developing their economies and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through Special Economic Zones (SEZ), many African governments wanted to use the same strategy to improve their economic performance. However, most African countries lack the capacity to design and implement SEZs, including lack of policy framework clarity, difficulties in physical planning and land administration, and insufficient regulatory and administrative knowledge. They have also not being very successful in involving the private sector in SEZs.
The Government of Rwandawanted to improve employment, incomes, and empowerment of disadvantaged young women through improved access to educational and entrepreneurial opportunities. It lacked the capacity to formulate and coordinate appropriate policy and training to achieve these goals. During a knowledge exchange between the Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI) projects in Rwanda and Liberia, the countries shared challenges and good practice approaches.
Ethiopia and Tanzania are rich in natural resources, but both face questions on how to best govern the mining industry to ensure economic transparency and growth. The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) helps address the development and governance challenges facing these and other resource-rich nations. The knowledge exchange with Liberia was an opportunity to learn from the experience of a more mature EITI implementation.