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Liberia to benefit US$20 billion from rail corridor with Guinea

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The Government and people of Liberia are expected to benefit from US$20 billion bilateral engagement for the development of a rail corridor to transport Guinean mining products via Liberia’s port infrastructure. An official Guinean government is in Monrovia for an international ministerial conference that is currently ongoing. The three-day forum is meant to facilitate the transport of agricultural products, people, goods, and services.

The agreement represents a legal, institutional and operational framework between the two countries, meant to secure the use of current and future infrastructure and/or transport services in Liberia by Guinean mining operators. It also facilitates the importation to Guinea by mining operators of goods used for mining projects in the neighboring country.

In remarks at the formal opening session of the conference Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Maxwell SaahKemayah said, the conference follows intensive engagement between both monitoring committees of the Governments of Guinea and Liberia.

Minister Kemayahexplained that the engagement further reflects a long-sharing bond of friendship and corporation characterized by inter-marriages being witnessed and cultural ties, cross-border trade deeply rooted between the two states, dated even before Guinea’s independence in1958.He noted that Guinea and Liberia share common borders which are hardly distinguishable and had facilitated measures to closely monitor communities from both sides.

According to him, these interactions lay the premise for their engagement and are the major drive to improve social and economic relations of peoples of both nations.“The Government of Liberia through the National Legislature ratified the bilateral agreement which President George Weah signed and was subsequently published and printed into handbill.

Kemayah asserted that the ratification further demonstrates to their Guinea counterparts that Liberia takes seriously its commitment to the full implementation of the agreement. He believes that it’s also allied with the government’s agenda for development and prosperity as well as fulfills the benchmark of pillars two and three of the agenda.

Also speaking, Ibrahim K. Kaba, Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said the engagement presents an opportunity to review all assets of their friendship be it diplomatic, health, or security. Minister Kaba noted that it is their desire to utilize this great project and expressed optimism that this opportunity will favor the youths of Liberia and Guinea.

He added that the agreement will create opportunity for a corporation, economic development in the sub-region, hoping that the project will be successful and the realization of the dream of the two counties, something, he described as a Win-Win situation.

The agreement, which has been in the pipeline since the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is being dubbed by officials of both countries as a win-win situation. If approved, ore mined from the Guinean side of the Nimba Mountain in Liberia will be cheaper to export via the Port of Buchanan inside Liberia, generating revenue for both countries.

The mine is situated approximately 800km from Guinea’s capital Conakry, and 26km from the existing railway at Tokadeh in Liberia. The cost of developing the mine and building the rail line, which will traverse difficult terrain and virgin rainforest, has been estimated at close to US$20 billion.

By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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