Lessons from foreign investments in Liberia

Improvement of the concession policy

  1. Guidelines for future concession agreements.


For future concession agreements some principles should be observed:

First, the Government should not grant any concession agreement if the necessary investment funds have not yet been committed. It should be observed that this policy does not set in motion, or maintain, a vicious circle making project finance and Government’s  approval of the venture dependent upon each other.

Numerous examples in Liberia’s economic history underline the importance of such a condition to definitely approve a concession agreement. The most famous cases are those involving US businessmen Lansdell Christie (eventually leading to the Liberia Mining Company, LMC) and the illustrious Lee Edgar Detwiler (LAMCO, and the abortive LISCO, the Liberian Iron and Steel Corporation). In both cases, President Tubman granted an important concession to these adventurers/businessmen whereas they did not have any capital to invest in the enterprise. Consequently, it took many years before the necessary investments funds were mobilized.

Secondly, concession areas should be granted which are in realistic proportion to the manifested intentions of the prospective investor, his contractual obligations and the proven availability of funds for investments, working capital and contractual obligations such as reforestation, severance pay etc. By all means, the overlapping of concession areas granted to different investors should be avoided by improving the Government’s administrative structure supervising the concession sector.

Thirdly, when negotiations are being held with potential investors from a particular country the services of legal and fiscal experts from the same county should be sollicited  in order to exploit to the maximum the possible legal and fiscal constructions from which Liberia may benefit.







Improvement of
concession policy



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