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World Bank approves US$ 29m for Southeast Liberia

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The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approves an International Development Association (IDA) credit financing of US$29 million for Liberia’s Southeastern Corridor Road Asset Management Project (SECRAMP).

According to the World Bank, the project will support the Government’s efforts to enhance road connectivity for residents living along selected sections of the Ganta-to-Zwedru Road Corridor, and to improve institutional capacity to manage the road sector.

The IDA will also provide a $48 million Payment Guarantee which will leverage additional US$60 million from the private sector.

The SECRAMP, according to a press release, will be co-financed by a US$24 million Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF) grant contribution from the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (DfID) and Germany (KfW). Both KfW and DfID recently provided additional grants of US$16 million and US$6 million respectively. The Government of Liberia will make available US$24 million through the National Road Fund.

The SECRAMP supports the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) through the development of road infrastructure to support economic transformation necessary to sustain growth and reduce poverty. The project will also ensure the establishment of an environment conducive to: commercial agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and rural development; promoting development of micro, small, and medium enterprises; and improving access to markets.

“This project will bring relief to Liberians in accessing social services and advancing economic development, especially to the people of the southeastern region who are most of the time isolated from the rest of the country due to poor road connectivity,” said Larisa Leshchenko, World Bank Liberia Country Manager.

The World Bank Release points out that about 471,000 project beneficiaries are targeted, including residents, businesses, and transport service companies located along the rehabilitated corridor and in adjacent areas that will benefit from access to a climate-resilient all-weather paved road.

The beneficiaries will experience substantial cost reductions, shorter transport times, and all-year access to services and markets. The project implementation will generate local employment for mostly unskilled laborers, and on-the-job training opportunities for construction workers at a variety of skill levels.

“The project, the first of its kind in IDA’s portfolio, deploys a combination of IDA Credit, IDA Guarantees, and Grant resources to leverage private financing for a road Public Private Partnership (PPP) in an affordable and fiscally sustainable manner,” said Co-Task Team Leaders Kulwinder Singh Rao andSatheesh Kumar Sundararajan.

The Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and Infrastructure Implementation Unit (IIU) will benefit from the project interventions through capacity building, support to the IIU and Road Agency (under MPW), and the institutional reform activities, which will help clarify mandates and improve their effectiveness. Local non-governmental organizations (NGO) will receive support to improve the project’s capacity to mitigate sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) risks.

Building on Output and Performance-Based Road Contracts, SECRAMP will incorporate a Special Purpose Vehicle for the improvement and maintenance of a minimum of 100 km of the Ganta-Zwedru Road Corridor (focusing principally on the Ganta-Tappita section) through a 15-year concession PPP Contract to the private sector.

The Release notes that World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which was established in 1960, has helped the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

The IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa, says the World Bank.

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