Liberia: A Land of Wealth without Manager

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By B.J. Goodlin

A story in the book of Genesis is unfolding right before our eyes. Adam was put in charge of a beautiful garden to manage and to have dominion over everything. Key word: to have dominion over everything. The instruction was quite simple – everything on the face of the land you have authority to dominate with the exception of man. His lack of management proficiency led to man’s quandary.

Liberia is a land filled with natural resources of wealth that hasn’t been managed shrewdly or should I put it to you that the lack of ideas or creativity to explore has been the challenge. Liberia is a nation rich with natural resources in Iron ore, gold, diamonds, and rubber, forest for logging and timber and vast agricultural land for ensuring food. With all of these resources, why is Liberia considered one of the poorest countries in the world that heavily relies on foreign assistance?

Studies have shown Liberia has five major iron deposits in these regions: Bomi Hills, Mano River, Mt. Nimba South, Tokadeh, and Bong Mines. How can a country be so rich and yet poor, how is that? The only answer that comes to mind is maladministration and the absence of vision and creativity. Liberia is not a poor country as we may think; it is the nonexistence of ideas and the visions to protect its resources and to produce goods and services.  Liberia has the natural resources to manufacture, distribute and reproduce finished goods – thereby creating jobs for hundreds of people. Jobs creation helps to alleviate the high crime rate and minimizes corruption. But again, everyone wants a government job; no one pushes the idea of building a manufacturing plant or encourages the idea of government farming on a larger scale in the area of agriculture. I have not seen any product manufactured in Liberia, or a single product with a tag, “made in Liberia.” Nevertheless, concessions come and take away the country’s natural resources without creating a manufacturing plant to train and develop Liberians to take over after they leave. No corporate responsibility to build roads or improve communities.

People cannot continue to live in the past by doing what has got the country where it is. After 170 years there has to be a change in philosophy of how things are done. You cannot tell me, with all the educated people, there isn’t one person who has the slightest thoughts to turn the page. The talk about creating a new city is a brilliant indication, although the task is enormous. But it is achievable if the process is planned with purpose. However, it all starts with self-governing — a mindset that every Liberian must welcome by taking responsibility for their actions; that the buck stops here, in order for the process to become a success. There is no time to monkey around. I remember like yesterday when neighboring countries wanted to be like Liberia where everyone came and lived and enjoyed the rich taste of the land. Today, Ghana has improved and life is great for their people, Nigeria stands on its own, soon Sierra Leone will pass us.

What’s next? Political rhetoric is everywhere destroying good ideas to create jobs and empower people. Stories are written in newspapers about Bong County being split into two counties, Upper Bong and Lower Bong. I do believe if the split is done in good faith it has the readiness to create colossal benefits for both citizens of Upper Bong and Lower Bong. Jobs creation is one great factor that could benefit the people, aside from building universities, colleges, vocational institutions, hospitals, clinics, industrial facilities and many other benefits. There is a saying, “one who refuses to change refuses to grow.” The creation of Lower Bong has the proclivity to minimize the heavy burdens imposed on Upper Bong where everyone wants to be for better education and the likelihood. I do believe such brilliant concepts are in the best interest of the citizens where they can leverage their resources.

I do not consider the President’s hint to build a new city as a bad one, as long as the funds are available with good terms. Liberians should hold together and embrace change. If other countries can do likewise, we have the resources but need the will-power and commitment to embrace change.  Change for Hope is the slogan for the new world, accept it or be left behind.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I must say firstly, Bravo! It’s a well written piece. I live in the US, I am a young profession with a lot of aspiration to go back home and help foster an industry. My background is in corporate branding and finance. I am fortunate to work for the 2nd largest bank in the world outside of China. There is not a day wherein I am not faced with the paradox of our beloved Liberia being extremely rich and yet so poor. It’s my belief; at least my thoughts, driven by observations that we can no longer blame others for our woes and shortcomings. Let’s forget the Government for now. Liberia is capitalistic. There is abundance of untapped industries in the private sector that the Country can benefit from; with a bit of training and knowhow, we can get there. I mean, I’ve seen a few “Made In Liberia” products here in the States, mainly in Oil Palm byproducts and produce. Nothing, nothing major for excitement. We have a young population, with lots of potential. Liberia is like a stagnated superhero still fondling with his powers. Someone needs to literally say wake up Liberia and get going. That is where the government can be useful. The government has to encourage young professionals such as myself to return home and spark development. Now, you may ask how? Simple, give me incentives and assurances. I’ll be on the next flight.

  2. Great point Mathais. Liberia needs young minds like yourself (visionaries), with creative minds that could infuse new ideas in their various disciplines to move the country to another level. We cannot sit on the fence and criticize to see our beloved country go into ruin. Your voice plus many others will make a great difference as we continue to remind the leadership that enough is enough.

  3. I am always fascinated when I read comments by Liberian describing the situations in Liberia. Interestingly, we all are aware of the situation but are unable to advance a solution. We need people with the mind set as farmers to lead and govern our country. A true farmer will plant and harvest his crop at the proper time. The bad farmer will eat the seeds and therefore cannot replenish. You are all attesting to the truth that the country is rich in natural resources. That’s what our leaders are in Liberia. “Bad farmers”

    However, whatever percentage is been paid to our managers they squander for their just today living. Have you consider how much they pay themselves? Where do you think they get such money? It is the country’s wealth they are mismanaging.

    The solution is to elect the kind of people that have love and care for the country and its human resource. Any leader of group of leaders that will focus on the development of the human resource capacities of the country from the bottom up will succeed in the transformation of Liberia. How can our Representatives and Senators who are elected from the various political subdivisions of the country agreed to exploit their our own people without any opposition? Our leaders are not just corrupt but they are equally wicked and are not ashamed of themselves.

    It is so frustrating for us living abroad, since we have access to so many goods but are unable to substantially help our people back home. You send things to your people in Liberia, it will remain in the port. There is no procedure to follow in Liberia and the only reason is that, our nation is in the hands of crocks.

    My suggestion for a solution is that we establish a strong diaspora present in Liberia that will work with the gross root with a truth motive of national leadership and responsibility. Let’s make our voice and action strong by working around the government and reaching directly to our people with the necessary goods and services.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. We need people like you to voice your dislike about what is happening in the country. We cannot be spectators and watch our country deplete in the hands of crooks. You’re as guilty if you refuse to express your dislike in constructive manner.

  4. Way to go, Mr. Goodlin! I absolutely agreed with your comments. I want to highlight this one point: Liberia will not be changed by the people who benefit from the status quo, period. The question then is, what can we do to develop? Those of us who have been placed in the Liberian diaspora, have to take charge with a new mindset. Liberia will be developed by Liberians. We have to do it. When you return home, think about starting a business without thinking to make a killing overnight and without taking a government job. Play the long game and best business practices. A few good likeminded individuals with a great business idea should take the idea to startup business. Believe me, there are numerous business startup ideas out there in Liberia.

    While running the business, they should cultivate the best business practices and stay clear from corruption and follow the rules; so as to dispel the notion that a successful business in Liberia is a corrupt business. When the business is thriving using best practices, others will want to benchmark the successes. When they do, you will be rebuilding your country block by block. We can do this!

  5. You can have millions of Managers but if the Technical KnowHow is not there, you will never develop. You are NOT in the position to bring anything to the world market. You do not have Industries. You are not able to process your resources. What do anyone wants to manage or control in Liberia?

  6. Great point, Mr. Major. Best business practices the way to go. Only Librarians can make what Liberia can be. But again, the government must be willing through its leadership to support the cause. Few committed Librarians can make the difference.

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