World Bank Liberia Country Manager Larisa Leshchenko
World Bank Spending US$360m On Roads In Liberia
By Ballah M. Kollie
MONROVIA, October 17 (LINA) - The World Bank says it has committed about US$360 million towards ongoing transport projects in Liberia with renewed commitment to help address the development needs of the country and its people.
According to World Bank Liberia Country Manager Larisa Leshchenko, among the projects is the newly-dedicated 176.7 kilometer Monrovia to 15-Gate to Gbarnga Road project and others that have shown visible improvements through series of projects that are collectively managed as a program.
“So far, our projects have helped financed rehabilitation of over 500 kilometers of paved roads or about 60 percent of total paved network of roads recognized by the Ministry of Public Works and construction of several main bridges, including the King Zolu Duma Bridge and Jake Melton Bridge,” the World Bank Country Manager said.
This was contained in a statement read on her behalf by Kulwinder Singh Rao, World Bank Task Team Leader for Infrastructure at the dedication of the Red Light-15 Gate-Gbarnga highway recently at the Gbarnga Administrative Building in Bong County.
The road was constructed by the Chinese construction company CICCO with funding from the World Bank and other development partners through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund.
“We are optimistic that such assistance will help transform Liberia on its path to sustainable development and prosperity,” she said in the statement.
According to the World Bank Country Manager, financing of the new road corridor is a demonstration of the bank’s commitment as a true partner to the people of Liberia, to reduce poverty and promote shared growth and development.
She added: “This major highway will facilitate the movement of goods and services in both directions between the countryside and Monrovia. It will also enhance economic development of the hinterland by lowering transport fares, increased transportation, access to markets, educational institutions, hospitals and other services essential for the growth and development of Liberia.”
She said the objective of the Liberia Road Asset Management Project (LIBRAMP) is to support the Liberian Government’s efforts to reduce transport costs along the road corridor from Monrovia to the Guinea border and to maintain the road in good condition over a 10-year period.
“This 10-year Bank-funded road project employs the Output and Performance Based Contracting approach which transforms a road contract into a services contract.
“This means that the Government will pay only if the road meets the service level. As a result, Liberians can rest assured that for a very long period this highway will benefit from secure funding and devoted attention to be given it by implementers over the next 7 years," she said.
The World Bank Country Manager then applauded donors and other development partners, including the European Union and the governments of Great Britain, Sweden, Ireland, Norway and Germany, and the World Bank for their financial support.
Meanwhile, the project is providing employment opportunities for nearly 400 Liberians annually since its inception in January 2012, some of whom were able to acquire new skills for future employment, she said.