Since the civil war, Liberians have known only one leader: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who helped transform the ruined capital. Now some observers worry that this month’s election could undo Monrovia’s progress

For nearly 30 years, the city of Monrovia has lurched from crisis to crisis. The Liberian civil war culminated in a 2003 siege that destroyed much of the city centre, while riots during the Ebola crisis – in response to an ill-conceived quarantine of West Point, one of its poorest neighbourhoods – garnered international headlines.

Lost amid the bad news is the fact that the city has made a slow but impressive recovery. Today Monrovia is a fairly bustling place. The burnt-out high rises and shell-pocked roads have been substantially repaired. The streets are safer than they have been in a generation, and as the Ebola crisis recedes, the markets and cafes are returning to normal. Thriving music and food scenes suggest it is on the rise.

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