The security situation in Liberia is currently quite good, and at a glance the peacebuilding process seems to be moving ahead. However, the root causes of the conflict have not been adequately addressed, but have in fact become more interlinked in the aftermath of the civil war. Instead of addressing local perceptions of insecurity the international community made plans for Liberia without considering the context in which reforms were to be implemented. The peace in post-conflict Liberia is therefore still fragile and the international presence is regarded as what secures the peace. Still, the UN is supposed to start its full withdrawal in 2010, indicating that the international community will leave the country without addressing the root causes of conflict.
Since the end of the Liberian civil war in August 2003 the international community has been “making plans” for Liberia. However, it rarely questioned whether these plans were in accordance with the political and economic logic of the peace agreement and the subsequent transitional government. The consequence was that corruption continued and a much more intrusive economic management plan was established. The Governance and Economic Management Assistance Programme is supposed to combat corruption and facilitate good governance, but it also limits the range of policy options for the new democratically elected government of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The irony is that the best and most legitimate government that Liberia has ever had is subject to stronger external control than any of its predecessors. The probability that this scheme will remain sustainable when donor interest shifts elsewhere is low, and what is needed is a more pragmatic approach that draws a wider segment of Liberian society into anti-corruption management and creates checks and balances between them.