Finance Minister Amara Konneh Pushes for Ganta-Zwedru Road Project
Liberia Pushes for Ganta-Zwedru Road Project
MONROVIA, April 10 (LINA) - Finance Minister Amara Konneh has requested the World Bank to use its convening power to assist Liberia raise additional and alternative financing model for the Ganta-Tappita-Zwedru highway estimated at about US$386 million.
“This corridor has key economic and political importance for our country and it is critical we direct investments and accelerate engagement with other actors to have the feasibility studies for those projects finalized to allow for resource mobilization and works next dry season,” the Liberian Minister said.
He said so far, Liberia has US$80 million in International Development Association (IDA) committed funding for the Ganta-to-Zwedru road, but would need over 300 million to complete the financing requirement for this project.
The Liberian Finance Minister made the request when the Liberian delegation at the ongoing Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund held constructive country-level discussions with the Bank’s Vice President for Africa Maktar Diop on support for the Liberia’s development agenda, the Agenda for Transformation (AfT).
The meeting with Mr. Diop, former Finance and Economy Minister of Senegal, centered on addressing bottlenecks affecting Liberia’s portfolio performance and disbursement rate under the IDA financing arrangement on key projects, including support to the health sector, direct budget support and financing of the Red Light-Ganta-Guinea border road project.
He also briefed the Bank on other road financing initiatives, including possible Arab financial institutions financing of Lot 1 of the Gbarnga to Mendikorma Highway and Millenium Challenge Corporation potential financing of Lot II of this project and a possible EU financing of the Duala-to-Bo Waterside road project.
Finance Minister Konneh praised the Bank’s country team for the considerable progress in accelerating Liberia’s portfolio and acknowledged challenges faced by the country in speeding up ratification of funding agreements which, he noted, has adversely affected the rate of disbursement on Liberia’s IDA portfolio.
“We as a government and a country are concerned about these delays but we have ourselves at a critical intersection of democratic maturation, where our Legislature has grown independent and are reviewing most of these instruments in ways and manner never seen in our history.
“These kinds of scrutiny take time and result in delays, so we will work with our colleagues to find the requisite balance so that our growth agenda is not affected,” Minister Konneh added.
Meanwhile, Konneh has enjoined the Bank to increase Liberia’s portfolio under the 17th IDA allocation, with approximately 80 percent of this support directed to the investments in energy and transport.
According to a Finance Ministry press release, he also emphasized support for the agriculture and youth sectors, underscoring their critical linkage to economic growth and job creation.
Receiving the Minister and delegation earlier, the World Bank Vice President Diop praised the Liberian treasury chief for his “leadership’s impressive” support for IDA 17 and serving as a “voice for Africa”.
Diop said: “Mr. Minister, I must stress you have articulated a lot about the need for more resources for Africa, especially fragile states and you have been a key voice for Africa in discussions with the G7+, something we have taken note of and we have made progress in this direction.”
On Liberia, Diop said, modalities for support under the IDA 17 was being finalized but stressed the need for a more regional approach to the energy issues and needs in West Africa, within the framework of the West Africa Power Pool and the sub-regional Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Interconnection project.
He said the Bank was committed to supporting Liberia’s development strategy and encouraged Minister Konneh to keep pushing for Liberia’s priority projects.
Minister Konneh, who is also National Coordinator of the Liberia Development Alliance (LDA), is expected to also hold discussions with the IMF, and other multinational and bilateral institutions with a view to securing additional financing for the Agenda for Transformation.
Officials traveling with Minister Konneh include Dr. Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Antoinette Weeks, Minister of Public Works, Dr. J. Mills Jones, Executive Governor, Central Bank of Liberia and Mr. Lewis Brown, Minister of Information and Tourism.
Others are Mr. Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Youth & Sports, Mr. Boima Kamara, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Liberia and Tolbert G. Nyenswah, Assistant Minister for Prevention, Ministry of Health.
Each Spring, thousands of government officials, journalists, civil society organizations, and invited participants from the academia and private sectors, gather in Washington DC for the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group.
At the heart of the gathering are meetings of the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee and the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee, to discuss progress on the work of the IMF and the World Bank Group.
Also featured are seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and many other events focused on the global economy, international development, and the world’s financial markets.