Liberia Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP)
Client: USAID and the Government of Liberia
Year Completed: 2010
GEMAP was a partnership between the Government of Liberia and the international community to promote accountability, responsibility and transparency in fiscal and financial management (www.gemap-liberia.org). Featured in World Development Report 2011, this ground breaking, multi-donor, multi-million dollar program is emerging as a model for improving governance in post-conflict environments.
The majority of GEMAP was funded by USAID and implemented by IBI. Having successfully completed GEMAP and met other benchmarks, Liberia qualified for debt relief under the World Bank/IMF Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program in 2010. During the GEMAP period Liberia also improved dramatically in Transparency International’s ranking of the corruption perceptions index, going from immeasurable in 2006, to 138th out of 180 countries in 2008, to 97th out of 180 in 2010. On the World Bank Group index of ease of doing business in 183 countries, Liberia moved from unranked in 2006 to 159th in 2009 and 149th in 2010.
Key elements of the GEMAP model included:
- Embedding senior advisors in government ministries and state-owned corporations to institute modern financial management systems
- Ensuring top level commitment and support, both political and among international partners
- Assessing organizational efficiency, policies, procedures, laws, and regulations
- Identifying and instituting internal controls and improvements in operations
- Using information technology to streamline processes and to ensure maximum transparency
- Building skills and professionalism through intensive, on-the-job training and tailored courses
With IBI assistance, the national budget process in Liberia has become automated, faster and more accurate, and spending in line with laws and according to plan. The national budget tripled over three years. The institution of systematic controls in the national payments system eliminated chronic fraud and misuse that amounted to millions of dollars in losses every year.
A state-of-the-art mineral concessioning framework for mineral deposits that IBI experts developed introduced measures to maximize sustainable contribution of mining to the national economy. The implementation of a Mining Cadastre Information Management System has streamlined minerals license granting and ownership procedures, contributing to avoiding ownership conflicts and loss of revenue. The transfer of knowledge, technical skills, and negotiating expertise to Liberian officials led to the successful negotiation of the $2.6 billion Bong Mines iron ore deposit—the largest concession in Liberian history that will be the backbone of economic growth and development for future generations.
An analysis of public sector vehicle, generator, and fuel usage completed by the General Services Agency with IBI assistance resulted in potential savings of over $9.3 million in the National Budget. A national fixed asset inventory exercise identified for the first time in the history of the Government of Liberia the number and location of the government’s fixed assets, and is now recorded and tracked by an automated fixed asset management system, reducing the potential for theft and misuse. The policy frameworks IBI experts developed for asset maintenance and fleet management for the Government of Liberia constituted the foundation to maintain and protect government assets.
Revenues have nearly doubled since 2005 at the Roberts International Airport, the major gateway to Liberia. The institution is now close to full compliance with international aviation standards and more attractive to international airlines. In all of the IBI supported state-owned enterprises, tighter controls over procurement and financial practices have saved the institutions millions of dollars.
A large-scale training initiative designed and implemented jointly between IBI and the Liberian Institute of Public Administration trained nearly 500 people across the public, private, and non-profit sectors in a wide range of subjects including public financial management, public sector management, and information technology. A post-training survey among the trainees indicated 95% satisfaction in course content and delivery.
In response to a request from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, IBI employed regional planning methodologies to identify development corridors in Liberia. This study constitutes the foundation for the National Economic Growth Strategy spanning the years 2012 to 2027 to rationalize and optimize public investment, promote private investment and prioritize development interventions by sector and geography.
IBI was also instrumental in facilitating coordination among a wide range of stakeholders in drafting the National ICT Policy for Liberia, establishing an ICT for Development (ICT4D) Steering Committee, and creating the Cable Consortium of Liberia (CCL), a Public Private Partnership established to leverage the investment needed for Liberia’s participation in the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) consortium that will bring broadband connectivity to Liberia.
Described by the government as an “historic event”, the $700 million, 17,000-kilometre long ACE cable that will run from France to South Africa brings broadband internet connectivity to Liberia by 2012, replacing Liberia’s dependence on costly, slow, and unreliable satellite connections for internet connectivity that present a major impediment to economic development. With IBI’s facilitation, the CCL was able to successfully raise the $25 million required for participation in ACE, and attract funding in Grant money from World Bank towards the cost of the investment as well as the technical expertise necessary to build the enabling legal and regulatory framework.
With an overall positive evaluation by independent evaluators contracted by USAID Liberia, and outstanding praise from Liberian and international stakeholders and counterparts, IBI completed all technical activities and contractual obligations under GEMAP on time and on budget in September 2010.
Government of Liberia institutions that received IBI GEMAP assistance include:
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy
- General Services Agency
- Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs
- Ministry of Public Works
- Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission
- Liberian Institute of Public Administration
- State-owned enterprises (Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation, National Port Authority, Roberts International Airport, Forestry Development Authority, and Monrovia City Corporation)
These institutions are pivotal in generating, managing, and spending revenues in the interest of the Liberian people.
To find more information and view a documentary on this highly successful program, please visit www.gemap-liberia.org.