MONROVIA – The visiting World Bank Regional Vice President for Western and Central Africa, Ousmane Diagana, who is in the country on a two-day official visit as part of his official tour of West and Central Africa, says the Bank has noticed commendable progress under the George Weah administration in a number of areas outlined to be implemented under the World Bank’s externally funded projects.
Making the disclosure Wednesday during a press briefing following what he termed as “a very productive session chaired by His Excellency George Weah”, Mr. Diagana said his discussions with the Liberian presidency focused on the World Bank’s current institutional engagements in Liberia.
“We have seen some progress despite the country facing a number of challenges. We have noticed commendable progress under the administration of George Weah in a number of areas including infrastructure development, access of people to goods and services, but at the same time we do recognize there are a number of huge challenges. We discussed how the World Bank support can be maximized to meet those challenges. We will do more on infrastructure development, roads construction, access to energy, access to digital. We also recognize that climate change affects the people, therefore, we will include programs that will allow the people to adapt to climate change,” Mr. Diagana said.
The World Bank Regional Vice President said although Liberia is a partner to the WB, at the same time it is one of the owners of the World Bank institution, noting, “We have a huge commitment of $1.3 billion in Liberia covering variety of sectors including human capital, sustainable development, among others; and those programmes are defined by the government of Liberia, in consultation with the population of Liberia. The role of the World Bank is to facilitate implementation of the plan,” he said.
“We are satisfied when we reviewed the implementation status of this program and with the result that has been achieved so far. But at the same time, as we embark with the post-COVID recovery situation, climate change and other fragilities affecting many countries in the world, we notice that it is very important that we continue to think on how we can enlarge the content of this program; more importantly, expedite implementation of the resources so that the population can benefit from every single dollar. And for that, the government of Liberia is fully committed. The resources must be expedited and increased,” Diagana assured.
Also speaking during the media briefing, World Bank Liberia Country Director Pierre Laporte said the Bank has an allocation for countries, and for Liberia, this allocation is $65 million annually.
“We just completed a performance and learning review which is basically a midterm review of our strategy framework for Liberia, and within this context, we have identified areas where things worked out well, but also areas where we need adjustments. So, yes, we will continue annually to invest in Liberia.
The World Bank media briefing comes in the wake of President Weah spending much of the day touring development projects across Monrovia along with World Bank Group’s Regional Vice President Ousmane Diagana.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the World Bank Regional Vice President, with whom President Weah conducted the field visits, has supervisory responsibility for Western and Central Africa and he is in the country on a two-day visit as part of an official tour of his areas of jurisdiction.
President Weah and Mr. Diagana have been inspecting ongoing road rehabilitation work on the 6.1 km road linking S.D. Cooper Road to Coca Cola Factory Road, including ELWA and Red-Light Junctions, which are funded by the World Bank through Liberia Road Asset Management Project (LIBRAMP).
At the Red Light Community project site, the President, Mr. Diagana and other senior WB officials were briefed on the technical issues of the project by the Project Contractor CICO, a Chinese road construction company.
From the Red Light enclave, President Weah and his guests also made a brief stop at the famous ELWA Junction and later drove to the Invincible Sports Park.
The entourage briefly toured the facility before traveling onto the ongoing PHP Sports Development Project.
The PHP Sports Development Project is one of the president’s signature projects that aligns with his Government’s vision to erect recreational facilities across the country.
Accompanying the President and Mr. Diagana on the tour were officials of government, including Ministers of Public Works, Ruth Coker-Collins; Information, Ledgerhood Rennie; Lands and Mines Minister Gesler E. Murray; Finance and Development Planning Samuel D. Tweah, Jr.; Foreign Affairs Minister Dee Maxwell Saah-Kemayah, and Health Minister Wilhemina S. Jallah, amongst others.
The World Bank has been one of Liberia’s key development partners, supporting major investments in health, education, energy, agriculture, fisheries, and transport.