The Analyst (Monrovia)

17 September 2012

Liberia: Resource Expert Welcomes Liberia's Oil Sector Reform - Says Liberia on Right Track

A visiting European resource expert, Professor Paul Collier, says Liberians can make use of the immense opportunities derived from natural resources in a very meaningful way that would benefit not only this generation, but future generations.

Dr. Collier, who is also an Oxford University professor said oil discovered in Liberia can probably end or increase poverty depending on which example Liberians prefer to follow. “If you find yourself at the crossroads, it’s your determination that can lead you to the case of Botswana or Ghana and not other worse oil scenarios in the world, the renowned economist observed.

Professor Collier,  who concluded a two engagement last week in Monrovia,   met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and held round-table discussions with members of the national legislature, the judiciary, the Liberian Business Association, the Liberian Chamber of Commerce, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders on Liberia’s emerging oil and gas sector.

The Director of the International Growth Center observed that Liberia is following the foot steps of Botswana by opening up oil deals and intensifying public engagement that will erase suspicion in the minds of many Liberians.

He spoke of the need for Liberians to partner with government and institutions like NOCAL in formulating the rules, institutions and the critical citizenry that will eventually lead to speedy and vibrant developmental growth.

Speaking of the discovery of oil in Liberia, the Oxford Professor said the amount of oil discovered doesn’t really matter. “What matters most is the effective management of the resources that you as citizens must look at with keen interest, because it is the resources that will give hope to the people.”

Professor Collier:  “Nigeria has trillions of dollars of oil, but much of the population is living in poverty. These are mistakes and examples that you can tap on to build very solid and transparent oil sector like that of Botswana and Ghana.”

Professor Collier was in Liberia as guest of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), to contribute to the ongoing debate on natural resource management in Liberia, especially the emerging oil and gas sector. During the two days of engagement, he used his profile, authority and credibility to inform and educate the Liberian public and key stakeholders about hydrocarbon development and the ongoing policy reform process.    The resource expert serves as Advisor to the Strategy and Policy Department of the IMF, advisor to the Africa Region of the   World Bank. He has advised the British Government on its recent White Paper on economic development policy.

He was accompanied by the acting Deputy Executive Director and Research Network Director of the International Growth Center (IGC), Adnan Khan, who was here to formalize the center’s cooperation agreement with Liberia.

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