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‘Determined’ South-Easterners Impress Visiting EU Teams
Date Uploaded: Mar 06, 2017

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Determined’ South-Easterners Impress Visiting EU Teams

MONROVIA, March 5 (LINA) - Three European Union (EU) Teams that travelled to the Southeast of Liberia returned to Monrovia “extremely impressed” by the warmth and the determination of the people of the region.

The teams that included EU Ambassador Tiina Intelmann said they also now have “a much better understanding” of the challenges facing the people of the region, according to an EU release issue in Monrovia at the weekend.

The teams toured Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland, River Gee and Grand Gedeh counties between February16-24.

The mission was intended to have a comprehensive view of the challenges faced by the population of these counties, meet local authorities and monitor EU projects in the region, an EU release said at the weekend.

The teams found that poor road and electricity connectivity are “a very serious concern” as they are slowing down development and considerably increasing the cost of living.

This is a problem that needs to be approached with extreme urgency, but also with the understanding that it will take years of sustained investments to lift the region out of its isolation, the EU release said.

It said the EU has taken some preliminary steps by funding the design of the Coastal Highway and by exploring options to support increased access to electricity.

The EU said the Health and Nutrition indicators remain “extremely worrying,” especially in some of the counties.

Donor-funded projects have been providing temporary relief in the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak but they are not sustainable in the long run.

It noted that the NGO partners have done a terrific job but they are going to “leave a big gap when the projects come to an end.”

“The Health workforce is extremely motivated and competent, despite the fact that they're operating under very challenging circumstances,’ the EU said, adding, “Careful planning and execution of Liberia's own budgetary resources are key to ensure a smooth phasing out of donor-funded projects.”

The EU spoke of the South-East having an “enormous economic potential,” especially in terms of agriculture, fisheries and natural resources.

“They also have a very well established and prestigious University to train qualified professionals. Reforms to improve the business climate are key to promote agricultural value addition and job creation. The EU will explore how to best factor in this in the programming of its agricultural programme,” the release said.

The EU further said it is encouraging to see that the voter registration is progressing well despite the challenges and that more County Service Centres will soon be opened in the South-East.

“This is crucial to bring the government closer to people in remote areas,” the release indicated.

The EU is one of the main funding partners behind these processes.

In remarks, EU Ambassador Tiina Intelmann thanked the authorities and the people of the South-East for the “very warm welcome” and for sharing their views.

Upon returning from her tour, she declared that "as international partners it is crucial that we look as closely and as broadly as possible into the challenges that different parts of the country are facing.

“Development is never a single factor equation. This multi-team mission has been a very interesting format which we hope to repeat soon in other parts of Liberia," she added.

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