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For Liberia, natural resources are blessings, curses on road to democracy

PBS | 31 October 2011


[8min02secs] ... For Liberia to truly escape the resources curse, it will take more than fiscal oversight. The government must now also manage its assets in a way that includes, rather than marginalizes, its population.

Some local residents are watching warily, especially those living next door to a Malaysian company called Sime Darby that is cultivating over half-a-million acres of land, primarily for palm oil plantations.

MAN: How do you ensure that this country's resources are going to be developed for Liberia?

KIRA KAY: Activist Alfred Brownell took me to a small village abutting the plantation where residents say this land is their ancestral home and not the government's to give away.

The government's deal with Sime Darby also includes the relocation of 25,000 people squatting in the area. And the U.S. State Department has identified the standoff as a potential security threat to the country.

MAN: People are angry. People are protesting. People are complaining because they are not seeing the value. And they're asking questions. What's going on? And government does not have the capacity to be able to explain what's going to those people. So it means the potential for conflict in the future is going to come up.
  • Icon-world  PBS
  • 03 Nov 2011

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