Correspondent Banking in Liberia
As regulatory pressures increase and banks assess the profitability of their business lines, they are withdrawing from relationships that are less lucrative or perceived as risky. The term de-risking is often used to refer to instances when banks close accounts or limit business with entire categories of customers based on risk. Banks are terminating their correspondent relationships for a variety of reasons including increasing anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) standards, stricter enforcement, low profitability, and lower levels of risk tolerance. Fines related to AML/CFT efforts have increased significantly, surpassing $15 billion in 2014.
According to the World Bank Survey results, the areas that are most affected by de-risking have been Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean and Europe & Central Asia. Mexico has taken the lead in how governments can mitigate damage, recently releasing a plan for Mexican authorities. Liberia can use Mexico’s plan as a model for how the public and private sector can work together to help solve some of the issues around de-risking. Read the paper here.
Liberia: Post Ebola Outlook
On December 11, 2014 the medical NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) decamped from Lofa County in Liberia due to no new Ebola cases in the past six weeks. This marks a significant turnaround in Liberia’s efforts in eradicating a health epidemic that has crippled an already weak national healthcare system, put renewed strain on the country’s economic recovery efforts and taken the lives of more than 3,000 Liberians. Lofa County is situated at the crossroads of the Mano River Region encompassing Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and was considered the hot spot of Ebola in Liberia. The efforts of the Liberian government, international aid agencies and governments and their successes in Lofa County are significant. But what now? Where does Liberia go from here? What can we expect for 2015? Find the full report here.
Liberia's Oil Sector Update
Liberia is at least five to seven years away from producing commercially viable quantities of oil, should current explorations be successful. The potential discoveries made by African Petroleum in 2012 and 2013 still need to be evaluated further, and while there remains high confidence from industry experts and government officials’ alike , commercially viable quantities have yet to be confirmed. Scheduling new rigs to return to the area in late Q4 2014 and early Q1 2015 and drilling further wells to see how large or small the reservoir is will be crucial in determining and confirming the extent of Liberia’s hydrocarbon resource. Find the full report here.