Liberia to Lose German’s Development Cooperation Due to ‘Failure to Fight Corruption’, Implement Reforms
MONROVIA – Liberia’s failure to satisfactorily show commitment towards the fight against corruption and implement reforms under the George Weah-led administration is costing the country bilateral development cooperation from Germany as the biggest economy in the European Union is dropping Liberia from its aid’s list.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
In its new reform and bilateral cooperation development strategy, Germany now looks forward to divert its support to countries were its cooperation and more meaningful.
The German federal government says it will only deal with countries that are specifically implementing reforms for good governance, respecting human rights and combatting corruption with their support.
Neighboring Sierra Leone, is also dropped from the aid list.
“The new concept means that we are withdrawing from bilateral development cooperation with various countries, we are thus moving away from a strategy of spreading things thinly and are increasingly dedicating our bilateral cooperation efforts to places where our commitment makes a difference and partners implement reforms,” said Gerd Müller, the Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development.
He added that cooperation will be concentrated on a small number of countries “which are specifically implementing reforms for good governance, respecting human rights and combatting corruption with our support.
What the Govt Says
Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe told FrontPageAfrica after an inquiry that the Liberian Government has not received any official notification regarding Germany’s intension to terminate bilateral development cooperation with Liberia.
He, however, stated that the reasons provided for pending cancellation contradicts the government’s efforts towards reforms.
Min. Nagbe: “Our commitment in this regard has been recognized by various bilateral and multilateral institutions – including the IMF and the World Bank. This is evidenced by the IMF’s recent statement on Liberia (when it approved a credit facility of US$213.6 million) in which it praised the government’s dedication to carrying out “ambitious structural reforms necessary to restore macroeconomic stability and to put Liberia on a fiscally sustainable” path.
“These reforms have necessitated increased support to Liberia, including from the IMF, World Bank and the EU. During the announcement in March of another big support of US$40 million to the country, the World Bank praised the government’s commitment to implementing reforms upon which their support was based.
“The government has also been working with the United States Agency for International Development to help build systems and structures that prevent waste and abuse. The Kroll-CBL collaboration is a good example of this cooperation.
“But the Germans are still involved with the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund, as much as they have been lending support to the Road Fund and providing technical assistance.”
Sources within the German Embassy in Liberia hinted FrontPageAfrica while the federal government has decided to discontinue its development cooperation with Liberia, it would continue existing projects in Liberia, some of which will last up to 2022, but would not be subject to renewal or extension.
“Our commitment in this regard has been recognized by various bilateral and multilateral institutions – including the IMF and the World Bank. This is evidenced by the IMF’s recent statement on Liberia (when it approved a credit facility of US$213.6 million) in which it praised the government’s dedication to carrying out “ambitious structural reforms necessary to restore macroeconomic stability and to put Liberia on a fiscally sustainable”– Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism
Liberia’s Corruption Index
Transparency International ranked Liberia as one of the most corrupt countries in its 2019 Corruption Perception Index Report.
Liberia scored 28 of 100 with ranked 137 of 180 countries.
The 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people. The 2019 analysis shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
Germany’s Support to Liberia
Germany has been supportive of Liberia in areas of infrastructure and recovery, health and Regional and global projects/programmes.
As part of its contribution towards infrastructure development there is a Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF), a project that runs from 2008–2020 with a total volume 44 million Euros.
The LRTF is a multilateral trust fund for financing large-scale infrastructure projects and is administered by the World Bank. So far, the fund has been used to finance the construction of two major roads and the development of the waste management system in Monrovia.
Reintegration and Reconstruction Programme (RRP), total duration: 2005–2021 with a total volume of 70.35 million Euros, including 12 million Euros for the Ebola Support Programme. The aim of the programme is to improve the living conditions in south-eastern Liberia through infrastructure rehabilitation and the reintegration of refugees, traumatized women etc. The “Ebola Support Programme” helps to improve hygiene, drinking water supply and basic health care and supports value chains.
Under the health program, Germany has committed 15 million Euros for the strengthening of health system in Liberia. The project has been aimed at supporting the Liberian government in improving access to primary health care that has been strengthened in terms of staffing and equipment and which will include appropriate prevention and control mechanisms.
There has also been employment-oriented support to women working in the health sector in Liberia, duration: 2016–2019, a total of 3 million Euros was committed to this project. The project was intended to improve employment opportunities for female youths and unemployed women in the health sector and was aimed at improving working conditions, particularly of female staff.
Between 2016-2019, 7 million Euros was committed to Integrated Severe Infections Treatment Unit Programme (inSITU). The aim of the programme is to protect the population more effectively against epidemics of infectious diseases that require isolation. The programme supports the establishment of “integrated severe infection treatment units” (inSITU) and their integration into the health system.
There also 7 million Euros committed to strengthening of health and epidemic prevention between 2016-2019. This was intended to enhance resilience within the health system, for instance resilience to outbreaks of epidemic diseases. It focused on building capacity in health authorities, public and private providers of clinical health services and in laboratories, and on strengthening community-based disease surveillance and response.
Germany has also committed a total volume of 74 million Euros to the West African Power Pool (WAPP) – Transmission Line Côte d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea (CLSG.
“The new concept means that we are withdrawing from bilateral development cooperation with various countries, we are thus moving away from a strategy of spreading things thinly and are increasingly dedicating our bilateral cooperation efforts to places where our commitment makes a difference and partners implement reforms”Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development
It is planned to set up a transmission line with a total length of 1,360 km incl. 13 substations. The first phase covers the erection of pylons, the building of the first transmission line and substations, and electrification along the line and in Monrovia.
For the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydro Powerplant in the context of the WAAP, Germany provided a support of 55 million Euros.
GIZ is also carrying out capacity development in the transport sector in Liberia Commissioned by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
This project which began in 2008 and expected to run until 2022 aims to provide technical assistance for implementing road maintenance using funds from the fuel levy and is helping establish the National Road Fund. Employees of the building authorities and building contractors receive training and practical support in managing building contracts.
In addition, the project is supporting the Ministry of Public Works in decentralizing services and in setting up a bridge maintenance system. It is advising the Liberian Government and other stakeholders on drawing awareness to road safety issues.
It is also providing advice on introducing axle load control for heavy goods vehicles (through GIZ International Services) and is helping develop the Association for Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC) institution.
Liberia is also benefitting from the German’s Regional Resource Governance in West Africa. This project was also commissioned by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cohort with the European Union (EU). It cuts across Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the goal of improving raw material extraction in the Mano River Union states in the long term and further reforming the mining sector in accordance with the principles of social, environmental and economic sustainability (as set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals).
This project runs from 2019 to 2022.
According to GIZ, although the countries have already implemented reforms in line with the African Union’s Africa Mining Vision, there continues to be a lack of sustainability in the mining sector in the MRU states – with far-reaching social and environmental impacts in the mining communities.
The objective of this project is to ensure that the mining sector in the MRU countries is more closely aligned with the principles of social, environmental and economic sustainability.
GIZ is supporting the project’s partner countries in changing their political, institutional and legal frameworks to enable them to manage their natural resources in a sustainable way. The partner organisations range from government institutions at regional, national and local level to civil society organizations and the private sector.