U$41million Road Project Will Lift 790,000 People Out of Poverty

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    extreme poverty free life dirt road woman carrying bundle on head

    The Government of Liberia (GOL) and the African Development Bank (ADB) Wednesday, October 3, 2018, signed loan and grant agreements totaling US$41.58 million dollars to improve Liberia’s road networks, creating an estimated 800 new jobs and improve the living standards of more than 700,000 people.

    Finance and Development Minister, Samuel Tweah Jr., Signed on behalf of Government of Liberia, while Mr. Orison M. Amu, Country Manager signed for the African Development Bank during the ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance in Monrovia.

    In remarks during the program, ADB’s County Manager, Orison M. Amu said, the agreement represents the Second Phase of the Mano River Union Road Development and Transport Facilitation Programme, which would improve roads in Liberia and facilitate transport between Liberia and its MRU neighbors.

    He said the second phase also consolidates road rehabilitation efforts and will boost economic recovery in the two countries. “It will provide for the asphalting of 67.1 km of road between Fish Town and Kelipo (20 km) and between Sanniquellie and Loquatuo (47.1 km), and the construction of two markets, water facilities and latrines along the same roads,” Mr. Amu said.

    According to the ADB’s Representative, the construction of a joint control post and a bridge linking Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia is also planned, which would reduce transport costs, ease the free movement of people and goods, promote regional trade and overall improve the living standards of about 790,000 people.

    “Another expected positive outcome will be 800 new jobs over the next 2-3 years for 100 traders – 60 of them women – who will also receive training in bookkeeping. The programme will also increase job prospects for ten young graduate technicians and engineers employed in training sites with a total estimated cost of US $87.87 million, over 48% of the total cost of this second phase is covered by the African Development Bank”.

    “The balance is covered by an EU grant of Euro 20.2 million and a potential loan from the EIB. The programme will be implemented from January 2019 to December 2022, and the project roads are expected to be in use in 2021,” he said.

    Recounting ADB support to Liberia, he said the bank first phase of the road programme, estimated at US$108.4 million for Liberia obtained financing in December 2014. “Under this phase, 96 km of roads are being upgraded from gravel to asphaltic concrete between River Gee and Maryland Counties. In addition, two joint control posts and a cross-border bridge on the Cavalla River are being constructed”.

    “This programme will help open up the Southeast and western part of Liberia, which will assist in the delivery of Government services such as Health and Education. It will also open up market access to tourist areas in Cote d’Ivoire, thereby improving incomes for people in that part of the sub-region” he said.

    Also speaking, Public Works Minister, Maputu Nyanpan lauded the ADB and international development partners for the level of support to the Liberian Government.

    According to Minister Nyanpan, ADB latest signing agreement with the Liberian accumulate their support to little over $150m.

    “On behalf of Government, we can assure you [Bank] that we are prepared that these projects will be done in time and they will be at quality as designed,” he said.

    In closing remarks, Finance Minister, Samuel Tweah, Expressed gratitude to ADB for the support for road development in Liberia.

    “We are engaging you [ADB] and the World Bank for additional financing agreements under a new framework for a development in which you have expressed commitment. Our president has vowed to construct at least 1,000 kilometers of roads,” Minister Tweah said.

    -Alex Yomah