The Minister of Finance and Development, Amara Konneh, has concluded constructive country-level discussions with officials of the World Bank, IMF and other development partners aimed at mobilizing support for the Government’s fight against the Ebola epidemic.
In conversation with the World Bank, Konneh requested that the World Bank and other development partners use their convening power to assist Liberia raise additional resources to fight Ebola and also support the country’s economic recovery plan.
For more than a week, Minister Konneh and delegation, including Central Bank Governor Dr. Mills Jones, the President of the Liberian Bank for Investment and Development, John Davies, and Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood, amongst others have been in Washington, DC working to make Liberia’s case.
The delegation articulated clearly Liberia was looking for new avenues of support to fight Ebola and deal with probable associated economic and social issues.
The Liberian Team requested bilateral and multilateral partners to not re-program existing commitments, but rather provide injection of new funds.
Minister Konneh described those discussions as fruitful and said Liberia was able to make a strong case for the World Bank to provide additional assistance following the provision of US$52 million of crisis funds last month.
“We’re aiming to raise around $50 million dollars as direct support and we hope our key projects will be accelerated, including work on the Redlight-to-Gbarnga road, and feasibility studies on the Ganta-to-Tappita road.”
The Finance and development Planning boss also met with the head of USAID, Raj Shah, who assured him that every support will be provided to help stop the transmission of Ebola. Discussions were also held with the Millennium Challenge Corporation over a possible funding window that could be harnessed to accelerate Liberia’s economic stabilization and recovery.
Discussions were also held with the IMF over additional support beyond the recent $48 million dollars under the Extended Credit Facility program to be channeled through the Central Bank of Liberia. Efforts were also made for additional commitments under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF. The Head of the (IMF) Madam Christine Lagarde suggested to her colleagues that there is a need for more budgetary support for Liberia as short-term spending is critical during these difficult eras.
In the US, Minister Amara Konneh consummated a deal worth US$27 million dollars with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport Runway. EIB also expressed willingness to work together on future pipeline projects. In meeting with the Swedish International Development Office, Minister Konneh pleaded with the Sweds to increase their support to Liberia, in addition to the US $10 million dollar committed through International Non-Governmental Organizations.
In a related development, the International Finance Corporation has agreed to provide an immediate injection of roughly $15 million dollars to the banking sector for trade financing. The IFC is also actively exploring ways to provide financing to small businesses, particularly in the Agriculture sector.