Bloomberg News

Liberian Economic Expansion to Quicken on Mining Investment

January 24, 2012

(Updates with comment from president in third paragraph.)

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Liberia’s economy will probably expand at a faster pace this year than in 2011 as the West African nation devastated by a 14-year civil war restarts its iron-ore industry.

Gross domestic product may expand about 9 percent after rising 7 percent last year, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, said in a speech yesterday, according to a copy posted on the presidency’s website today. Inflation will probably slow to 4 percent to 5 percent from an average 7.5 percent last year, she said.

“In the midst of a looming global recession, this is no small achievement,” Johnson-Sirleaf said. “A growing economy and declining inflation mean that our people have more money to spend and the value of this money is retained.”

The West African nation has lured more than $16 billion in investments since Johnson-Sirleaf, who won a Nobel Peace Prize last year, became president in 2005 as ArcelorMittal, OAO Severstal and Chevron Corp. invested in the mining, rubber and oil industries. ArcelorMittal shipped the first iron ore from its operations in the country in September.

Johnson-Sirleaf was the first woman president in Africa and won re-election in November.

Government revenue is forecast to increase 32 percent to $516 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, while spending jumped by 39 percent to $385.7 million in the period from Jan. 1 last year to Dec. 9, she said. Foreign reserves rose to $327.1 million at the end of December from $288.1 million the year earlier.

--Editors: Gordon Bell, Karl Maier

To contact the reporter on this story: Andres R. Martinez in Johannesburg at amartinez28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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