Governments in West Africa increasingly require foreign investors to build and maintain public infrastructure in exchange for rights to extract natural resources on their land. Liberia has adopted this strategy to fill an infrastructure gap after the civil war and build ‘spatial development corridors’ alongside concessionaire-sponsored infrastructure. This brief evaluates the implementation of this strategy in Liberia from 2006 to 2012, and found that mining – particularly iron ore – and Chinese-backed concessions increased economic growth within 25 km of concession areas, whereas agriculture, forestry, and US-backed concessions did not. These findings have significant implications for how government institutions with policymaking and M&E responsibilities, such as the Natural Bureau of Concessions (NBC) and Liberia Land Authority (LLA), should track the performance of concessionaires. Going forward, the Government of Liberia (GoL) should continue to require that investors meet public good requirements but also make greater use of innovative monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools to monitor the activities and impacts of concessionaires.
Funding: This project was funded by IGC Liberia.