Claim: Agriculture accounts for 38 per cent of our GDP and employs almost 70 per cent of our population
Verdict: True, Agriculture employs 70% of Liberians.
Edward W. Appleton, one of the 20 presidential candidates participating in the upcoming October 10, 2023, elections, claimed that agriculture accounts for 38 per cent of Liberia’s GDP and employs almost 70 per cent of its population.
Appleton, the standard bearer of the Grassroots Development Movement (GDM), made those claims at the presidential debate held on Friday, October 6, 2023. The debate was organized by Internews in Gbarnga, Bong County.
Verification: The Stage Media research on the Trading Economic website established that agriculture, forestry, and fishing in 2022 contributed 36.19% of Liberia’s GDP.
We also checked the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the report says, “Agriculture plays a crucial role in Liberia’s economy, accounting for over 40 per cent of total employment in the country as of 2021.”
Also, International Trade says,“ Agriculture, including forestry, is the primary livelihood for more than 60 per cent of Liberia’s population and accounted for 31 per cent of Liberia’s 2021 real gross domestic product (GDP).”
The Liberia National Investment Commission (NIC) report which quoted a 2019 report from the World Bank, says, “Over 75 per cent of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihood. The sector contributes 25 – 35 per cent to Liberia’s GDP.”
To verify this, we checked the Work Bank website with a keen interest in the 2023 report on agriculture.
What we got among others says, “growth in the agricultural sector accelerated to 5.9% in 2022 from 3.3% in 2021.
All the above information runs contrary to Appleton’s assertion.
Conclusion: Appleton’s claim that agriculture accounts for 38 per cent of Liberia’s GDP is misleading.
Also, we verified the 70% agricultural employment claim. International Trade says, “ Agriculture, including forestry, is the primary livelihood for more than 60 per cent of Liberia’s population.” and it says that the World Trade 2021 report says that 40.65% of Liberians get employment through agriculture.
Claim: We spend 9% of GDP on health care, which of course is more than our neighbor, and our health care delivery system does not help our people.
Appleton also claimed that the country spends 9% of its GDP on healthcare, which is true.
Although Liberia’s health expenditure as a share of GDP fluctuated substantially in recent years, it tended to increase through the 2001–2020 period, ending at 9.5% in 2020 and not 9% as stated by the presidential candidate.