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Liberia, Ten Years of Liberation

Photographers: Nic Bothma / Ahmed Jallanzo

 

In 2003, the civil war in Liberia culminated in a final battle for the city of Monrovia after 14 years of civil war. The city was surrounded by warring factions and for weeks the citizens of Monrovia bore witness to one of the bloodiest battles in West Africa's history. Finally, in August of 2003, the then president Charles Taylor, who has since been found guilty of war crimes by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, stepped down under immense international pressure. Since then, Liberia has enjoyed 10 years of liberation and peace, with Ellen-Johnson Sirleaf becoming the nation’s first democratically-elected female president in 2005. She was faced with a massive task of restoring Liberia from a crippled nation into a functioning country.

 

The construction of public buildings, businesses, houses and connecting roads to every capital of the fifteen political divisions of the county is one of Sirleaf’s major priorities before she finishes her term in 2017. Although 2013 marks a decade of peace and stability after 14 years of civil war, Liberia continues to undergo a rapid regeneration.

 

From a time where the country was ravaged by war, it is now a land of growth and opportunity. International investment has flooded in and new businesses have begun to appear. The infrastructure has improved dramatically and in many places fresh drinking water now flows. Large reconstruction projects have led to improved and modernized infrastructure in a country where once the only source of power for ordinary Liberians was diesel generators.

 

There is still much to be done as Liberians celebrate ten years of liberation in 2013. They can look towards a brighter future beyond the troubled and bloodied past. The Liberia of today is starting to resemble a modern West African country with a burgeoning middle class and prosperous outlook towards the future.