The Government of Liberia and the World Bank have signed a USD$40 million facility that is a 20 million grant and a 20 million loan aimed at addressing the dire city needs of the country, especially in the wake of the ever-growing needs challenge of climate change that threatens the livelihood and economy of many communities that are exposed to its impact.
The signing ceremony took place yesterday, May 31, 2022, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Public Works in Monrovia, in the presence of the Minister of States for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel Falo McGill, Internal Affairs Minister, Varney Sirleaf, and representatives of the cities of Monrovia and Paynesville. Minister Samuel Tweah signed on behalf of the Government of Liberia while Mr. Pierre Frank Laporte signed on behalf of the World Bank.
Assistant Minister of Planning and Programming at the Ministry of Public Works, Mr. James R. Reynolds, who read the overview, said the signing ceremony mark a historical milestone and a formidable step forward in the infrastructure development strategy for the nation and added that Liberia Urban Development Project previously dubbed the Monrovia Development Project ensued first as the result of the intervention of President George Manneh Weah, to address the dire city needs of the country, especially in the wake of the ever-growing needs of challenges of climate change that threatens the livelihood and economy of many communities that are exposed to its impact.
Reynolds noted that the Liberia Urban Development Project seeks many other challenges imposed as the result of climate change, also mentioning that the Project Development Objective (PDO) is to improve integrated urban management, service to delivery, and flood resilience in Greater Monrovia.
“The project is jointly funded through the World Bank’s IDA finance to the tune of US$40 million and the French Development Agency also providing EUR 10 million for the implementation of the project. The project will be implemented in parallel with both funding provided through a Project Management Unit (PMU) being managed by the Ministry of Public Works. The project is expected to last for a period of 6 years and includes institutional strengthening”, he remarked.
Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah, in special remarks, extolled the World Bank for the strong partnership, noting that the Liberia Urban Resilience Project seeks to integrate various networks of Public Sector Actors across the country’s major municipalities which aimed at addressing drainage and related waste management challenges.
Minister Tweah recognized the efforts of various stakeholders and donor partners including the African Development Bank for the massive support given to the Government of Liberia, expressing that the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development will continue to have socio-economic returns on the citizens of Liberia.
” We are here again to sign another agreement with the World Bank and the Liberian government. We recently signed a USD$40 million project for the country’s business private sector through the World Bank and today we are on another great move. This project which is for infrastructure shows that the World Bank has confidence in this government’s ability to deliver and implement” Minister Tweah noted.
The Finance Minister added that the World Bank is indeed touching every fabric and facility of the Liberian society, adding that the population growth is increasing and that the country is about to enter 5 million and urban migration has put pressure on the cities because Liberians are not keeping pace with the growth dynamic in the cities.
” The Government has decided to address those concerns and based upon that, today we are here again with the World Bank to sign this great move. We are grateful to them for all the support and in the next three years, we will see more impact with the finance and the project in our country. This move will see a system on our infrastructure and others fabric” Finance Minister Tweah, further remarked.
Making a special statement, the World Bank Country Director for Liberia, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, Mr. Pierre Frank Laporte, said the project was approved by their Board, on May 17, 2022. He said it will enhance the protection of natural assets, mangroves, and wetlands which play a critical role in helping Greater Monrovia to manage climate impact, and have multiple environmental, economic, and social benefits.
According to the World Bank Country Director “Investments are also designed to strengthen the institutional capacities in resilient integrated planning, including in the City of Monrovia, Paynesville, as well as in the next largest cities in Liberia: Buchanan, Ganta, and Gbarnga. The project is to benefit over 200, 000 people.”
Mr. Pierre Frank Laporte was followed by Minister Designate of the Ministry of Public Works, Madam Ruth Coker Collins, who said the Liberia Urban Resilience Project is in line with the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), and it is a program that would impact the lives of ordinary Liberians.
She stated that “The project seeks to address some of the challenges of the urban environment like drainage construction to mitigate flooding, improve spatial planning capacity of the cities and national authorities, improve waste management activities of the cities and improve Government’s capacity to respond to current climate change challenges affecting the city while developing a proper plan for possible future impact.”
According to Madam Coker Collins, this funding has come at the most critical time in the infrastructure strategy where the Ministry is in the process of completing its 5 Years Strategic Plan and the issues of zoning and land use planning are high on its agenda. Pointing out that it is the first post-war major drainage and climate change-related infrastructure project and the largest of its kind in the history of the county’s infrastructure development.
By: Stephen G. Fellajuah