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Liberia's Landmark Commercial Code to Strengthen the Economy

With support from IFC, Liberia has approved its first comprehensive commercial code, a landmark piece of legislation that will strengthen the country’s business environment, helping to attract foreign investment and boosting the local economy.

The code sets out provisions for sales, leases, financial leases, mortgages, secured transactions and commercial arbitration, bringing consistency to Liberia’s business environment by replacing sometimes confusing current legal arrangements.

Drafted after long consultations involving representatives from Liberia’s public and private sectors and representatives from IFC and the World Bank, the new laws should boost investor confidence in a country working hard to recover and rebuild following a crippling civil war that ended in 2003.

Commercial Court

The new laws will be backed by a commercial court based on an existing model in Ghana. Together, Liberia’s new code and court should go a long way to tackling corruption in Liberia, which suffers from high levels of poverty and unemployment.

IFC’s Acting Representative in Liberia, Kobina Egyir Daniel, said, “Extensive stakeholder engagement led by IFC ensured the final code was in line with international best practices, but also suited specifically for the needs of the Liberian market. This code will improve the business climate, give greater security for commercial transactions, and inspire greater confidence in Liberia as an investment destination."

Finance Lease Law

Among the laws set out in the commercial code is a finance lease law that was developed with the support of IFC’s Advisory Services Africa Leasing Facility. Another law, Liberia’s new mortgage law, was modeled after the Ghana Home Mortgage Finance Bill that Ghana developed with IFC’s help.

Liberia’s President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, was a driving force behind the passage of the commercial code as a means to boost the long-term prospects for Liberia’s economy.

Liberia’s Ministry of State in the Office of the President for Legal and Economic Affairs, the Central Bank of Liberia, the Chamber of Commerce, the Bankers' Association and the Bar Association were also closely involved in the process.

IFC Advisory Services' Conflict Affected States in Africa program supported development of the commercial code in partnership with the World Bank’s Low-Income Countries Under Stress Program, which will fund the refurbishment of the premises designated for the new commercial court.

For more information contact:

Kimberlee Brown
Communications Officer
Dakar, Senegal
Tel: +221 33 859 7126

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