The World Bank has again put smile on the face of the Liberian government by signing an additional US$40 million grant to strengthen the government’s recovery plans after serious economic shock as a result of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in 2015.
The World Bank says the grant approved will be used by the Government of Liberia to build and strengthen its developmental capacity after the devastating outcome of the Ebola virus.
Addressing reporters Tuesday, 22 November in a news conference at the bank’s offices in Congo Town, World Bank Liberia Country Manager Madam Larisa Leshchenko said the Bank has been working with the Government of Liberia to address constraints resulting from the challenges of the Ebola crisis, and the sharp drop in major commodity prices.
“We are quite happy that the Government was able to stay the course to complete a difficult set of reforms. The World Bank Executive Board of Directors finally approved the US$40 million Third Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Operation Grant which includes US$8 million dollars from the Crisis Response Window”, Madam Leshchenko said.
She added that the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Boimah Kamara and herself signed the US$40 million grant to enable the operation become effective, saying “This operation will strengthen governance, with particular emphasis on transparency, and accountability, as well as budget execution and oversight; It will address key constraints constrain to growth, including electricity, and improve human capital development, particularly through improved access to education and health.”
According to the World Bank Country Manager, the Poverty Reduction Grant Agreement that was signed yesterday is the third in a series of four operations, and noted that indeed, Liberia has developed a good track record of undertaking difficult and challenging reforms. “These reforms are crucial for helping to create the enabling environment for the transformation of the economy and improvement of lives of the Liberian people.”
She said reforms on governance help to create a more transparent government, limiting corruption thereby giving more confidence to citizens and investors, adding that addressing the lack of electricity and lowering the price, help to increase access to both residential and business customers, thereby not only providing more light for children to study by at nights, but also facilitating the development of the manufacturing sector, including the agro-industry.
Meanwhile, Madam Leshchenko has narrated that the World Bank has also signed US$4.2 million grant of the Africa Catalytic Growth Fund of the World Bank to support the completion of key construction of the West African Regional Fisheries Program in Liberia.
The Country Manager noted that the objectives of this agreement include completion of the Mesurado Complex, covering support to improve unloading facilities for industrial fishing vessels, space for the development of a fish processing unit, and a pier for loading exported fisheries products thru construction of a dedicated load-out pier; establishment of an office space, and preparation of Mesurado facilities management contracts, among others.
Giving background of the agreement, she recounted that the Africa Catalytic Growth Fund of the World Bank was launched in March 2006 to provide rapid targeted support to countries with credible programs to accelerate growth, poverty reduction, and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
According to her, the fund was designed to complement efforts by African leaders, and Africa’s international partners to respond to the diversity of experience across the African continent, using innovative approach to achieve demonstrable impact.
“We like to reiterate that the process of developing a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Liberia has started. The CPF will guide the Bank’s engagement with Liberia over the next 3-5 years. In the development of the Framework, the Bank will work with towards engaging with various stakeholders, including the media to get inputs. These inputs will be important to the development of the CPF, which will assist the Bank identify constraints to poverty reduction and shared growth…”, Madam Leshchenko concluded. Editing by Jonathan Browne