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Vol 49 No 7

Published 28th March 2008


Nightmare on Broad Street

Liberia's Finance Minister Antoinette Sayeh faces a huge problem as she steers the country into qualifiying for the World Bank's and International Monetary Fund's debt reduction programme by the end of next year: some US$1.5 billion of commercial debt - of the country's total debt of $4.5 bn. - does not qualify for the Bank and Fund scheme and could in theory be redeemed at more than face value, if penalties are enforced. Many of the records held in the Monrovia government's archives had been lost since the 1980s when many of the downtown banks on Broad Street were bombed or burnt down. Liberia has contracted the London-based Houlihan Lokey consultants to help reconcile the figures and advise on negotiations. Liberia has also sought debt-related help from the African Capacity Building Foundation and Crown Agents.

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