Liberia: Finance, Commerce Ministers Lauds USAID for Involving GoL in Designing New Projects

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MONROVIA – The Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel Tweah and the Minister of Commerce and Industry Wilson Tarpeh have lauded the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)for involving the Government of Liberia in the design and implementation of a new USAID project aimed at improving the policy-making and implementation process in Liberia.

Ministers Tweah and Wilson were speaking when they met the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Alyson Grunder, USAID Liberia Mission Director, Sara Walter, and other officials of USAID at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia recently to discuss the USAID funded Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue Activity (LEPDA).   The Minister of State without Portfolio, Trokon Kpui, who also attended the meeting, said it was particularly gratifying that USAID sought the inputs of the Government of Liberia (GOL) from the very conception and early stage design of LEPDA.

LEPDA was designed to respond to the need for policy reforms to tackle deeply rooted constraints to growth and development in Liberia, including high transaction costs, lack of value addition, and limited resources for domestic investments.  LEPDA will be working with its Liberian partners to tackle these constraints by strengthening policy-making capacity within the GOL and facilitating the design and implementation of specific reforms with the overarching goal of reducing the cost of doing business and promoting private sector-led, broad-based economic growth and development. 

During their meeting, GOL officials and their USAID counterparts discussed three focus areas for LEPDA as it works to achieve its overarching goal.  First, LEPDA will establish and operationalize a framework to promote policy reforms in specific areas, such as concession grants, development of a special economic zone, and trade facilitation, including improved operation of seaports.  Second, LEPDA will seek to establish a national Policy Unit Team with the requisite skills to research, design, implement and evaluate policies that address private sector development and economic management.  The Policy Unit Team will also help develop and support smaller policy units within various GOL ministries and agencies, such as the Ministries of Finance, Commerce Agriculture, State, the Central Bank of Liberia, and the National Investment Commission.   Third, LEPDA will aim to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to conduct robust policy analysis as “think-tanks,” while increasing citizen participation in the policy-making arena.   

During their meeting at the U.S. Embassy, GOL and USAID officials agreed that the GOL will take the lead in establishing an advisory committee within the GOL to serve as the principal liaison with USAID regarding the implementation of the LEPDA. The U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Alyson Grunder, said the United States remains committed to supporting Liberia’s development.  USAID Mission Director, Sara Walter, said “LEPDA is part of a new series of activities that USAID is implementing as part of its new Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), which will guide USAID’s work in Liberia for the next five years.”   She said, “USAID purposefully deigned its new CDCS so that it aligns with the broad pillars of the GOL’s signature development strategy, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.”  In addition to Ministers Tweah, Tarpeh, and Kpui, GOL officials attending the meeting with USAID included the Deputy Minister for Economic Management at the Ministry of Finance, Augustus Flomo and Rufus Darkortey, senior advisor to Minister Tweah.

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