When Charles Taylor abdicated the presidency in 2003, the unemployment rate in Liberia had reached 85%. Several onerous challenges to the economic sector, such as capital deficiency, illiteracy, and the unavailability of training and vocational instruction, obstructed national growth. Most Liberians lived on less than US$1 a day and attempted to provide for themselves through tiny, ubiquitous, roadside sales. Many educated middle- class citizens fled during the war, creating a "brain drain" on the population. Unemployment combined with few marketable skills drove most citizens into abject poverty and subsistence living. The level of poverty compounded with illiteracy and violence added further instability to the fragile peace.
Driven by the desire to stimulate the economy and the entrepreneurial skills of Liberians, LEAD Inc, was founded in 2005. A group of conscientious business owners and Christian leaders from North America and Liberia, committed themselves to improving the economic situation in the country. LEAD was founded on the pillars of capital access and business training, immediately affiliating itself with Partners Worldwide, an American NGO focused on entrepreneurial development. LEAD’s vision was to increase employment in Liberia and to use interactions with clients as a platform for sharing the love of Christ.
LEAD takes its name from a passage of Scripture in Psalm 23 “…He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” LEAD is a Liberian-owned NGO and seeks to serve and empower Liberians. To
date, LEAD has four different loan programs, three different training classes, an international and peer business mentorship program and a research farm.
Established in 1822 as an American colony for freed slaves, the small region of Liberia founded itself as a republic in 1845. The nation continued
to develop over the next 150 years, most significantly under the rule of President William Tubman, who held office from 1944-1971. But, Liberia’s history soon became marred by turbulence
In 1980, the government was overthrown by a coup. The citizens, enraged by the rising price of rice and the lack of economic stability, welcomed the change of leadership. However further aggression soon led the nation into deeper disorder.
In 1990, another rebel faction stormed into Monrovia, eliminating the current leader. Faced with the sudden power vacuum, the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) instituted an interim government to replace the previous administration.
In 1992, Charles Taylor launched a full assault on Monrovia. After years of fighting and seemingly obsolete peace accords, Taylor won the Liberian national election in 1997. His formal, six-year regime ended in 2003, due to a combination of international pressure and national rebel forces.
Since 2003, the country has slowly begun to rebuild itself under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Schools, roads, and hospitals have become a part of Liberia’s rebuilding strategy, in addition to building a credible economic policy for the future. The country has made large strides, however, extreme poverty and food insecurity still plague much of the nation.