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World Bank approves US40m to boost Liberia’s economy

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The World Bank on Thursday November 17, approved a grant of US40 million to boost Liberia’s economic transformation program, which is critical for achieving inclusive growth here.

The amount is in tune with the third Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Operation (PRSDPO-III) is an International Development Association (IDA) grant and is intended to help address governance reforms and human capital development in the country.

This Third PRSDPO which includes US$8 million from the IDA Crisis Response Window (CRW), supports the government’s strong policy efforts to adjust to the twin shocks from the Ebola crisis and the slump in commodity prices.

A World Bank release Thursday said the Bank established the CRW to strengthen the capacity of IDA countries to deal with exogenous, natural or economic shocks in a timely, structured and transparent way, and provide additional financing to respond. The objectives of this Poverty Reduction Support Development Operation are to strengthen governance with particular emphasis on transparency and accountability, as well as budget execution and oversight; address key constraints to growth, including electricity; and improve human capital development particularly through improved access to education and health. 

Expressing satisfaction for approval of the grant operation, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia Larisa Leshchenko said, “this support is coming at the time when Liberia’s low revenues are due to the decline in commodity prices and slump in growth. This Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Operation will be critical in helping the government deliver on its medium-term development agenda and transform the economy to reduce poverty and promote shared growth.” 

The PRSDPO-III is the third in a programmatic series of four single-tranche operations to support the implementation of the government’s Agenda for Transformation. This Agenda remains Liberia’s current medium-term strategy even in the aftermath of the Ebola crisis. Liberia’s fledgling economy was also hard hit by severe external shocks from the sustained slump in global commodity prices. The sharp drop and sustained low prices for rubber, iron ore and palm oil and the ensuing crisis have exacerbated the already sharp economic downturn. 

“This operation will help the Government of Liberia to strengthen governance with particular emphasis on transparency and accountability. It will also address key constraints to growth, including electricity, and will help mitigate the commodity price shocks,” said Program Leader, Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions (EFI) and Task Team Leader for this operation, Errol Graham. The grant will also strengthen weak infrastructure critical for achieving inclusive growth.”

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