In the wake of the G8 summit in Gleneagles earlier this month, it seems appropriate to comment on the possible uses of aid to Liberia. At the very least, it would be nice to be able to examine the use of past official aid to Liberia. Unfortunately, any efforts in this direction are merely speculation.
The World Bank’s Africa Quick Query indicates that very little official international aid made its way to Liberia over the last 5 years of the Taylor regime. From 1999 to 2003, the aid figure ranges from $12 to $32 per capita. After spending a week in Liberia in each of the past two summers, it seems obvious to me that any aid received by former "President" Charles Taylor was mis-appropriated to his own use of physically and militarily mitigating opposition. For obvious reasons, this cannot be proved. Clearly, the funds were not spent on infrastructure. Electricity has yet to be restored (it has been out since Taylor took over in 1989), and all "roads" are painfully in disrepair.
On the other hand, private aid to Liberia has been and remains a significant source of help to Liberian citizens. If you are interested in contributing to Liberia, the organization that I have worked with is African Christians Fellowship International (ACFI). ACFI is an indigenous religious organization that provides orphanages, medical clinics and tuition-free schools to the indigent and physically handicapped. For example, the only deaf school/orphanage in the entire nation of Liberia is provided by ACFI, as deaf children are social outcasts in Liberia.