At the invitation of the President, Dr. George Manneh Weah, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has arrived in the country and is expected to be here from 24-26 July 2019, “on a solidarity visit to the country”. The visit of the AfDB Group President comes in the wake of the 172nd celebration of the Liberia’s Independence Day, July 26.
An AfDP release of 22 July, 2019 quoting Dr. Adesina said the Bank has been a strong and strategic partner for Liberia in the transport, energy and agriculture sectors, with a primary focus on road construction, electricity generation and distribution and improving food and nutrition security.
“The African Development Bank recognizes the need for continued support to Liberia and is committed to assisting the nation’s work through its challenges. In particular, it will assist the government in economic policy initiatives and in providing technical advice to the leadership”, said Dr Adesina.
During his visit, Dr Adesina will hold bilateral talks and join statesman and other high-level dignitaries in celebrations to mark Liberia’s National Independence Day. Adesina will also attend the official opening of new airport facilities at Roberts International Airport and the new government office complex in Monrovia, the release said.
AFDB IN Liberia – The High 5s
Lighting up Africa: The Bank is currently financing three energy operations, and a fourth project scheduled for Board presentation in September this year, all aimed at addressing the severe power shortage and the high cost of electricity in Liberia. An additional operation is in the pipeline for 2021. The West Africa Power Pool (Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – (CLSG) and the Liberia Energy Efficiency and Access Project (LEEAP). CLSG interconnection is to provide a 1360 km of high voltage transmission line to enable Cote d’Ivoire to export 400MW of power to the other three MRU member states (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea). The CLSG Rural Electrification is intended to electrify about 130 communities located along the CLSG interconnection power line and supply electric power to schools, health centres, small handicrafts, commercial and industrial businesses. LEEAP project is for the construction of 46.1 km transmission line and 280 km of distribution lines in the corridors of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) and Pleebo-Fish Town at the River Gee County in turn benefiting about 200,000 persons living in communities along the project area, including schools, and health centers as well as commercial and industrial businesses.
Integrate Africa: The Bank is currently financing three operations and in the road transport sector and indicatively would consider two more. (i) Paving of Fish Town- Harper Road Project to upgrade a total of 50km of road from gravel to bitumen standard between the towns of Harper to Karloken, and an additional 80km section of road maintained from Karloken to Fish Town. (ii) Mano River Union (MRU) Road Development and Transport Facilitation Programme Phase 1 is to upgrade a total of 80km from gravel to bitumen standard from Karloken to Fish Town including Harper Junction – Cavalla Customs (16km) and the construction of a bridge over the Cavalla River. (iii) MRU Phase 2 approved in 2018 will upgrade a total of 67.1km from gravel to pavement surface from Fish Town to Kelipo (20 km) and Sanniquellie to Loguatuo (47.1 km).
Improving People’s Lives: The Bank has financed a number of operations aimed at improving people’s lives in Liberia. These include the Ebola Fight Back Budget Support Program approved in 2014, the Economic Governance and Competitiveness Budget Support Project (EGCSP) approved in 2018, the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (IPFMRP): Phase II approved in 2017; the Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Program (YEEP) approved in 2016. Implementation of these operations is on-going and progressing well. In 2018, the Board approved a USD 20 million (UA14.4 million) Trade Finance Package for three Liberian commercial banks. The facility will provide liquidity support to Liberian SMEs; and guarantees to enable international banks to provide clean confirmation lines for Liberian SMEs trade finance needs. These facilities are currently under negotiations and should be signed too.
Feed Africa: The Bank is financing three operations in the Agriculture and forestry Sector: The Smallholder Agricultural Productivity and Commercialization SAPEC, A study to identify areas of need in the Agricultural value chain, and a Support to the Forestry Authority to Scale up the participation of SME’s in secondary wood processing. The SAPEC Project, which is co-financed with the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) is on-going despite having suffered from start-up delays and negatively impacted by the Ebola Crisis. To date, it has amongst others: (i) reached 22,380 farming households (30% of them being female headed) with advisory services on the use of improved rice seeds and cassava cultivar varieties; (ii) registered 321,766 farmers across the 15 counties of Liberia on the E-Platform for effective agro-input distribution, and (iii) 58 students have been trained at bachelors and graduate levels in agriculture with 51 graduated already from 9 universities. Within the framework of a Special Economic Zone, the bank is preparing financing for a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) scheduled for Board approval in 2020.