Let me unequivocally state that all Liberians from the diaspora are not corrupt and weak. There are few Liberians through negative nepotism obtained jobs from the present government have failed to deliver to our beloved country. Overcome government failure. By “government failure,” I don’t mean that governments are evil or even that they are incompetent or ill-intentioned.
Equivalent to “market failure,” government failure refers to a situation where the particular incentives in government lead to a situation that is worse than what was intended with the intervention. For illustration, the Liberian governments finance and provide primary education so that poor children can have access to learning. But if teachers are paid regardless of whether they show up for work, and politicians rely on teachers to run their political campaigns, the result is absentee teachers and poor children who don’t know how to read or write precisely the opposite of what was intended. We see similar government failures in Liberia through health care, water supply, sanitation, electricity, transport, labor markets and trade policy. Why am I saying that the problem is the Liberian government failure, and not, say, lack of education or health or infrastructure? We have known for some time that education, health and infrastructure are important for escaping poverty.
Why has there not been more education and health and infrastructure for poor people? Why more government officials in Liberia have extended bank accounts in the United States and Switzerland? You will observe that when a government official is sick, he/she prefer to be rush outside of the country, but the poor citizens are the ones who remain in Liberia, get sick and die because of poor healthcare. The answer is not simply a lack of money.
Much of the money spent on these sectors is captured by powerful elites before it reaches the poor. In Liberia, this is factually the case, only one percent of the non-wage public spending on health actually reaches the clinics. In other cases, it’s more nuanced, such as the teacher (and doctor) absenteeism mentioned above, or when trucking monopolies keep transport prices so high that Liberia exports are noncompetitive in world markets. What is Liberia exporting presently? What can we do to increase these exports? In short, while education, health and infrastructure among other things are important, to get spending on these sectors to benefit the poor, we need to overcome government failure in Liberia.
Incapacitating government failure is difficult. These failures are the result of the interests of some powerful groups in society including government officials and politicians who will resist attempts at reform. What can be done? Driving money into a dripping bucket will not solve the delinquent in Liberia. And asking governments to reform even if the request comes with the implicit threat of a cutoff in funds (sometimes referred to as “conditionality”) is unlikely to work if the government itself is captured by the special interests. Perhaps the most productive action is to reach the people who are losing out the poor and empower them with information about teacher and doctor absence rates, the incidence of energy and water subsidies, the costs of labor regulations and protective import tariffs so that they can bring pressure to bear on politicians. Politicians can ignore technical advisers and external actors, but they can’t afford to ignore the citizens of their country. Politicians need these citizens to vote for them into power. To be certain, empowering poor people with information is not easy. Many work 8 to15-hour a day just to make ends meet for their families. Expecting them to attend village meetings or read the newspaper or listen to the radio is not forthright. What I am saying is, information by itself may not be enough to empower poor people in Liberia. They need apparatuses to hold politicians accountable. To sum up, governments may not welcome these efforts at making evidence available to the public; some will consider it combustible, and attempt to block it.
Hence, if we agree that overcoming government failures is crucial to ending corruption and poverty in Liberia, we need to endorse poor people’s access to information. It pains my heart to see how energetic Liberians are struggling to obtain eminence education. With today’s technology reliefs. The fact that one in two Liberians has access to a cellphone has made it easier to reach them and for them to reach politicians. In a sagacity, then, social media campaign and other open knowledge initiatives are more than just ways of eliciting ideas about ending poverty: they are potential instruments to end corruption and poverty in Liberia. Most leaders today in Liberia just don’t care about their citizens and the country. Liberia will get better if citizens start to take actions in changing these recycled politicians who mean no good for the country. Thank you!