Amara Konneh: Liberia finance minister hails 'new image'

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Amara Konneh said he wanted living standards to rise more quickly

Liberia's finance minister says being named Africa's finance minister of the year is recognition of the country's "new image".

Amara Konneh said that Liberia's civil war, which ended in 2003, had brought about a 90% collapse in its economy.

The economy is forecast to grow by about 6% a year from 2013-7, although most Liberians remain poor.

Africa is currently the world's fastest-growing continent, according to the African Development Bank.

Mr Konneh acknowledged that his government had not been "as fast as [it was] expected to be" in improving the lives of Liberians, many of whom still live on less than $1 (£0.60) a day.

"We're not proud of that, but it's something we are trying to change," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

He argued that this change would come about with economic expansion and the right investments.

Asked about the promise of $16bn investments since 2007, Mr Konneh said that jobs had been created in sectors such as oil concessions and services, although he accepted this was not enough to reduce unemployment levels.

He noted that Liberia's population had grown by 65% between 1984 and 2008.

Mr Konneh was named Africa's finance minister of the year by the London-based Banker magazine.

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