Countries emerging from protracted and devastating conflicts are often seen as needing significant external intervention in their financial markets to rebuild their private sector and promote quick and effective economic recovery. Despite enormous challenges, the provision of credit or the implementation of various lending schemes often dominate efforts to promote domestic private-sector recovery in the immediate aftermath of conflict. This approach raises a number of questions: First, how effective are loan programs in the development of domestic enterprises in the immediate aftermath of conflicts? Second, can loan programs work without significant improvements in the business climate? How sensitive is the design of lending programs to the success of domestic enterprise development projects following devastating conflicts?
This paper explores the experience of the Liberian Enterprise Development Finance Company, which was established in 2007 to provide medium-and long-term credit to small and medium domestic enterprises. In addition to shedding light on the challenges such an enterprise faces in a post conflict environment, the paper explores whether the strategies employed are effective and if there are opportunities for effecting remedial changes that could improve the outcomes of such a program in post-conflict environments generally.