Liberia’s Future Looking Bleak

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(Rapaport…July 23, 2002) Economists and experts see a bleak future for diamond-rich Liberia and little chance for any immediate economic recovery, reports AFP.

Of the country’s 3.2 million people, 76 percent live below the poverty line on less than $1 a day, while the unemployment rate is estimated to be between 80 and 85 percent. To add to the country’s woes, despite diamonds being one of its main resources, Liberian stones remain on the UN’s blacklist of “conflict diamonds.”

The country’s economy suffered a blow in May 2002 when the UN renewed an arms embargo on Liberia and a ban on dealing in its rough diamonds. The sanctions were imposed for President Taylor’s perceived support to Sierra Leonean rebels and alleged involvement in the conflict diamond trade.

Fighting in the country continues, mainly in northern Liberia, between government troops and rebels.

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