MONROVIA – On Tuesday, November 22, 2022, the Government of Liberia and the Republic of France, represented by the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD), signed US$ 1.2 million as a grant financing agreement geared towards an ongoing scholarship program.
The signing, which is considered as a boost to the country’s economy, will finance phase 2 of the ongoing “scholarship program”, and will provide additional opportunity to over forty Liberians youth to study at the Institute of National Polytechnique Houphoet-Boigny, in the Ivory Coast.
It further strengthens Liberia and France bilateral partnership agreement, which can be traced to a former document signed in 1981. It also allows the AFD group to operate in Liberia as a duly recognized international institution.
This agreement comes nearly five years after the AFD group resumed its operations in 2018.
Finance and Development Planning Minister, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr., who spoke on behalf of the Government, thanked the French Government through the AFD for their overall support to Liberia.
Hon. Tweah termed the Government of France as an important partner, with a clear manifestation of renewed bilateral partnership.
“Today signing will provide more support towards investment for sustainable agricultural development and boost private sector engagement”, Tweah said.
According to Minister Tweah, transformation is ahead for young people and the private sector, urging Liberians to remain patient because the government is working in the private sector, especially the World Bank to address some of the challenges the young people of the country are facing daily.
The finance minister explained that infrastructure constraints remain a major challenge for Liberia, but expressed optimism that great changes are underway as Agriculture, Public Financial Management (PFM), decentralization, and Private Sector developments are priority areas for the Government of Liberia in terms of job creation.
He noted these sector transformations will immensely benefit Liberians through better livelihoods across the country.
For his part, French Ambassador to Liberia, Hon. Michael Roux reaffirmed France commitment to the Liberia’s national development agenda, which is known as the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
He said Liberia is blessed with many natural resources, one of which is its people. “We are proud to contribute to the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)’’ he added.
According to him, the signing today is just one of the Agence Francaise Development (AFD) program and disclosed that there will be an extension of relevant agreements that will include employment opportunities.
Proparco Country Representative Ange-Pascal Kouassi said it is a great privilege to be present and thanked the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for such an opportunity.
He said since the IMF credit facility program in 2019, Liberia has restored microeconomic stability, and this program will further create more stability for Liberia’s private sector.
Kouassi noted that his institution has provided over 3.5 billion euros to help Africa and has, over the past two years, invested 50 million euros in Liberia’s private sector, especially in the areas of financial services, energy, and agribusiness.
He thanked his partners for their endless efforts to develop the private sector and continued commitment to growth and development in Liberia.
Also speaking, AFD Country Director Christophe Cottet noted that the AFD has been operating in Liberia from Ghana, but the agreement will now allow it to operate separately in Liberia as an independent organization to implement French policies and solidarity.
He said since 2018, AFD has committed more than 43 million euros in grants, with most of this funding being directed toward supporting the development of youth.
He indicated that this is a great partnership between Liberia and France and thanked the Liberian government for improving the lives of the people.
This signing was attended by high-level representatives of the Government (Honorable Minister Honorable Minister Samuel D.TWEAH and Honorable Deputy Minister Augustus F. FLOMO from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Honorable Minister Ansu D. Sonii from the Ministry of Education).as well as French and AFD representatives (H.E. the Ambassador of France Mr. Michaël, AFD Country Director Mr. Christophe COTTET).