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Weah outlines Liberia’s transformation plan

Dakar, July 7, 2022-Liberia is expected to focus on health, education, agriculture, digital economy, youth and women empowerment, roads and ports, energy and gender, as part of its transformation plan, President George Weah has said.

“Our transformational policy during the replenishment period will focus on health, education, agriculture, digital economy, youth and women empowerment, roads and ports, energy and gender”, President Weah told the ongoing Summit of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank for Africa in Dakar, Senegal Thursday, July 7.

African leaders are currently in the Senegalese capital, Dakar to call for a strong start to the implementation of IDA20 which focused on a robust and resilient recovery for Africa. This has become necessary because the continent has been hit hard by multiple global crises of climate and COVID-19, growing levels of food insecurity, and by the impact of the war in Ukraine.

African Heads of State at the Forum

The IDA20 program is expected to support a resilient recovery from these crises, and help the continent continue its economic transformation.

President Weah in his speech acknowledged the devasting impact the Russia-Ukraine war coupled with the Ebola and Covid-19 is having on the Liberian economy.

He informed the summit that Liberia has an economy that is dependent upon food and oil imports and is currently faced with rising prices of commodities because of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Mr. Weah further informed the summit that it is not only Liberia feeling the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war or the Covid-19, but even the Mano River Region is facing a complex situation because of these developments.

However, in the face of these challenges, Mr. Weah said his government has already developed a transformation policy for its replenishment period. That policy, he explained, will focus on health, education, agriculture, digital economy, youth and women empowerment, roads and ports, energy and gender.

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African Heads of State at IDA Forum

He added that the sectors named in the transformation policy are cardinal to Liberia’s national development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which is a phased 5-year national program that runs from 2018 to 2023.

“With respect to the health sector, we efficiently utilized the experience gained in combating Ebola in the fight to control and eliminate COVID-19, and we are improving on our programs in readiness for future pandemics; as well as improving our healthcare delivery system.

We have also increased access to school-based services, by the provision of nutritional packages for students and building the capacity of teachers, as well as by the establishment of centers to enhance research.

Creating the environment for the implementation of the Food Safety Act, the Fertilizer Act, and validating the Rice Development Act are some of the measures that my government is implementing to ensure food production and security.

On the economic front, the promotion of electronic payments and digitization of the Liberian economy, in collaboration with some of our key development partners, is an urgent and paramount imperative. Also, increasing credit to the private sector, and ensuring the stability of the financial system, are necessary initiatives that are well underway.

Being mindful that infrastructure is the bedrock for national development, we are keen on road connectivity throughout the country, which will facilitate easy movement and access to commodities and services; as well as the development and upgrading of our seaports and airports. We are also focused on increasing electricity generation, transmission, and distribution both in the urban and rural areas.” Excerpts of Weah’s speech read.

Meanwhile, the summit is also expected to endorse the work and relevance of IDA as a partner of choice in the African region. IDA is one of the largest sources of funding for fighting extreme poverty in the world’s lowest-income countries. Africa is IDA’s biggest beneficiary with 39 countries and has made significant headway in improving development indicators during six decades of partnership with the World Bank.

In this regard, President Weah pledged Liberia’s commitment to the ideas and programs inscribed in the Abidjan Declaration of the IDA for Africa 2021 Summit and is fully supportive of its implementation between now and 2025. “We are assured that it will succeed. And that is why we have come to this Summit to support its robust implementation.” He stated.-BY Othello B. Garblah

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