MONROVIA – The ripple of success stories triggering out of the once long forgotten Liberian fishery sector is eloquently telling in how passion, commitment and creativity on and for the job is all this struggling nation needs to turn it to the true “sweet land of Liberia” It actually is. Liberia’s fishery sector was a dusty, forgotten, overlooked and just another no-go state-owned enterprise. The Liberian Government under George Manneh Weah, and with its works-obsessed forerunner Director-General Emma Glassco, the sector is sprawling and bustling. It has become a long hidden gem uncovered, and the probations and rewards are coming about every now and then. Yet again, it has got a huge boost, this time over US$20m from the OPEC Fund for International Development. The Analyst reports.
Activities at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) are further lubricated by the OPEC Fund for International Development which has approved a US$20 million loan and a US$240,000 complementary technical assistance grant. This, accordingly, will help Liberia’s Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project together with the World Bank.
In release, OPEC Fund indicated that the project will improve the management of fisheries, making them both more efficient and sustainable.
The OPEC Fund for International Development, simply referred to as the OPEC Fund, is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world.
The assistance provided to Liberia is expected to enhance the living conditions of beneficiary communities, creating better incomes and new opportunities for over 55,000 people, including women, children and youth. Fisheries are one of the main sources of income in Liberia and generate around 10 percent of the agricultural sector’s production and three percent of the country’s GDP.
The Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project will cover nearly 90 percent of Liberia’s coastline in the six counties Montserrado, Margibi, Maryland, Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Grand Kru. It is designed to improve the ecosystem of fisheries, promote sustainability, increase the volume of fish landings and create more than 2,000 jobs. The fisheries project also will help to implement climate-smart technologies and climate-resilient business improvements and infrastructure.
The OPEC Fund Director-General, Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said, is quoted as saying: “We are pleased to partner with the World Bank to support Liberian fisheries, boosting livelihoods and empowering women. Ensuring the productivity of fisheries and reducing post-harvest losses will not only improve living conditions and reduce economic vulnerability, but also contribute to food security and climate adaptation in Liberia.”
The OPEC Fund’s technical assistance grant financing will specifically support 6,600 women through financing and training.
Fisheries are a significant source of employment for women and other vulnerable groups in Liberia. Women entrepreneurs in fisheries, who will benefit from the program will receive training in post-harvest value systems, business development and financial management to sustain and further grow their businesses.
The project includes the design and implementation of improved management systems for coastal fisheries and associated fleets, including large artisanal fleets at Kru and Fante, along with a smaller number of industrial and semi-industrial fleet operations.
The project will also improve the fishing harbor infrastructure at Mesurado Pier, help construct industrial and artisanal fleet facilities such as fish landing sites, fish value chain facilities such as market halls, and storage and processing facilities as well as access roads and services.
The OPEC Fund was established by the member countries of OPEC in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. Its work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education.
To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than US$22 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of US$187 billion. The OPEC Fund is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA, Positive Outlook by S&P in 2021. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.
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