World Bank Liberia Office Launches Country Systematic Diagnostic
Monrovia – The World Bank Liberia Country Office has launched its Country System Diagnostic (SCD) consultations aimed at identifying constraints and pathways for achieving the Bank’s twin goals of eradicating extreme poverty and boasting shared prosperity in Liberia.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh – [email protected]
Making the disclosure at a media dialogue briefing on Tuesday, May 9 at the World Bank Country Office in Monrovia, World Bank Liberia Country Manager, Larisa Leshchenko noted that the completion of the SCD process will assist the Bank in formulating its new Country Partnership Framework (CPF).
She added that the CPF, which will be built on the availability of resources, will guide the engagement of the World Bank Group (WBG) with Liberia over the next five to seven years.
Madam Leshchenko stated that consultations marking the start of the process were held in Ganta and Buchanan respectively and brought together representatives from civil society organizations, academia and the private Sector.
She noted that the World Bank office was now engaging similar groups of people in Monrovia including the Government of Liberia and Development Partners; stressing that these groups are critical in informing the development or the CPF.
Leshchenko noted that the inputs of the Bank’s partners will help the bank identify problems affecting growth and contributing to poverty in Liberia.
On the outcome of the recent World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings held in Washington DC, the World Bank Liberia Country Manager said, the Bank and its development partners have agreed to render more support to fragile and conflict affected states in Africa.
“I want to tell you that there is an increasing attention of the World Bank Group to the fragile countries. Donors and development partners have placed a huge emphasis on the challenges of the country and the importance of paying more attention to these challenges; and helping to address them either through lending, grant support or through the technical system capacity building,” she declared.
“In the next International Development Agency (IDA) cycle, there will be a major focus on growth, jobs, skills, basically boosting economic growth relevant for Liberia. Lots of emphasis will be placed on agriculture and energy,” the World Bank official averred.
She noted that in addition to the so called national allocation of IDA resources which will start on July 1 this year for a three year cycle, there will be different windows where Liberia as a country could also tap and get more resources to address these challenges.
In particular, Leshchenko said that there will be a window in support of the private sector development, which she believes has a good chance of getting more funding in Liberia to help in the private sector development which is the main driver of growth in the country.
Also speaking, World Bank Program Leader, Errol Graham asserted that following the twin shocks on the Liberian economy – the low prices of commodities and the outbreak of Ebola in 2014, there are positive signs in some sector of the economy, though there is still a long way to recovery.
He outlined that there is some recovery in the price of iron ore, but noted that the kind of supply response has not been up to expectation and as such the impacts on revenue have not been felt.
He expressed that over the medium term, the price of rubber is expected to increase to 20 percent for Liberia; while there won’t be any sharp increase in the prices of oil something he described as a positive sign because Liberia is a major importer of these commodities.
The World Bank official however stressed that one main area of concern is the private sector, noting that interest rates of 20 percent are high.
“You don’t expect the private sector to invest when the interest rate is high,” he said.
The media dialogue was also attended by Aly Sanoh, Economist and Statistician of the World Bank who disclosed that key findings from the Systematic Country Dialogue (SCD) focused on promoting governance, human capital development among others.