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Key findings
  • A majority (56%) of Liberians “approve” or “strongly approve” of President Weah’s job performance. His rating is the best among political leaders, followed by mayors (47%) and county superintendents (44%). Senators receive the lowest performance rating (39%).
  • In specific key areas, a majority approve of the president’s handling of national security (70%), domestic policy (57%), and foreign policy issues (55%).
  • About half or more of Liberians say the government is performing “fairly well” or “very well” in addressing educational needs (59%), maintaining roads and bridges (52%), providing water/sanitation services (51%), and improving basic health services (49%).
  • However, only one-third (34%) of citizens say government is performing fairly or very well in managing the economy and creating jobs, and just one in 10 (12%) say it’s doing a good job of keeping prices stable.
  • Only one in 10 Liberians (11%) say the country’s economic condition is “fairly good” or “very good,” a 31-percentage-point decline from 2012 (42%). But 59% are optimistic that things will be better in 12 months’ time.

After the 12-year rule of Africa’s first woman president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a runoff vote brought George Weah to power in Liberia’s first democratic transition in 73 years (Aljazeera, 2017). In his inauguration speech in January 2018, Weah promised to grow the economy, expand the revenue base, and improve the lives of the Liberian people through new institutions and pro-poor public governance (Malawian Watchdog, 2018).

In his first few months in office, President Weah has approved a series of projects, including the construction of a military hospital and the revamping of the Doe community in which he was raised. But he has also struggled with economic troubles, lamenting that “our economy is broken, our government is broke, our currency is in freefall, inflation is rising, unemployment is at an unprecedented high and our foreign reserves at an all-time low” (News24, 2018). When the exchange rate of the Liberian dollar peaked at an alarming level in June 2018, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) intervened to stabilize the economy (Liberia News Agency, 2018) – and promptly, mysteriously, lost containers filled with 16 billion Liberian dollars (about U.S. $100 million) that it had planned to bump into the economy (News24, 2018).

A new Afrobarometer survey shows that a majority of Liberians approve of President Weah’s performance since he assumed office but rate the government poorly on economic management. Citizens give the government a passing grade on providing infrastructure and basic services but failing marks for its economic performance and efforts to address the country’s most important problems.

Taa Wongbe

Taa Wongbe is the CEO of The Khana Group Global.

Marvin Samuel

Marvin Samuel is a research coordinator for The Khana Group in Monrovia, Liberia.