Impacts and Influence

Supporting Liberia’s Reconstruction and Development

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Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

In 2003 Liberia faced daunting challenges, including a foreign debt burden that crippled its development prospects after 14 years of war and failed governance. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tapped Steve Radelet  as a high-level advisor helping to shape strategies for economic policy, aid coordination, and poverty reduction. In an impressive resolution to a staggering crisis, the Liberian government negotiated in April 2009 a commercial debt buy-back of $1.2 billion at a 97 percent discount off face-value. The lifting of the debt burden opened up Liberia to the international financial community, allowed more government budget and capacity to focus on development, and positioned Liberia to reach its HIPC completion point in 2010.