Liberia lacks doctors, teachers, lawyers, electricians ... but they may have too many cooks.
Why? To help provide jobs following the end of Liberia's long and costly civil war, many international humanitarian agencies began delivering skills trainings to women. The most commonly taught skill? Baking, of course.
But there just aren't enough jobs for all the newly trained pastry makers. So women who learned to make wedding cakes and fancy foreign pastries are now selling two-cent donuts on the street. And foreign-owned companies (mostly Lebanese) continue to dominate the pastry making business.
In the rush to help Liberia, it appears that well-intended job trainings did not reflect market demand. The problem goes beyond baking. Other aid organizations continue to train women in the art of tie-dying. But unless Liberia's demand for tie-dyed shirts and sarongs reflects 1960s America, they may be wasting their time.