“Growth in GDP is disgusting and unacceptable”

While it’s always refreshing (and rare) to hear a straight talking government official, I’m wondering if Liberia’s Finance Minister, Mr. Amara Konneh, took it a step too far.  Maybe being named Finance Minister of the Year 2014 by The Banker magazine has gone to his head. I’m curious how long he will continue to be minister with words like these about the state of the economy:

“Liberia is doomed, and there is no sign of huge growth, because the economy cannot sustain the growth of country.

The economy lacks the potential frameworks to support the national budget.

Minister Konneh said owing to the poor economic outlook, growth in GDP is disgusting and unacceptable. He noted that Liberia runs a 12-hour economy as a result of the decimal growth in revenue, the economic growth and national development that would lift Liberians from the dungeon of destitution remains bleak.” [Note: 12 hour economy? decimal growth? whatever those are, it doesn’t sound good]

So, Minister Konneh, tell us what you really think….


h/t @JustinSandefur

And I thought I was the hammer

I’m all for high education standards (I have been nicknamed “the hammer” by two separate colleagues over the years), but either the University of Liberia needs to rethink their entrance exam or Liberian high schools need to step up to the challenge.

The BBC reports that the university has lessened its overcrowding problem by not admitting a single student for next year’s class.  According to school authorities, all 25,000 students who took the admission exam failed.  The education minister had this to say about the situation:

“I know there are a lot of weaknesses in the schools but for a whole group of people to take exams and every single one of them to fail, I have my doubts about that,” Ms David-Tarpeh said. “It’s like mass murder.”

I agree that something seems fishy. For example, the university said that the applicants “lacked enthusiasm” and good English skills.  How do you test for enthusiasm and why is that part of the exam?  The fact that they paid $25 to take the test seems to indicate that they have enthusiasm for learning and for investing in their future.

On the other hand, I would question the Education Minister’s equating the situation to a “mass murder.”  That seems like a curious (and terrible) analogy anywhere, but especially the political hell that Liberia has undergone in the last couple of decades.