Liberia: GoL, World Bank Sign Financing Agreements Totaling US$50m
MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia and World Bank on Thursday signed Two financing agreements in the amount of US$ 30 million additional for the Rural Economic Transformation Project (RETRAP); and US$ 20M to the Recovery of Economic activity for Liberians Informal Employment Project (REALISE).
The agreements seek to boost government efforts to increase domestic food production, and reduce dependence on imports such as supporting the production of rice, which is Liberia main staple food and other food crops such as legumes and vegetables.
Finance and Development Planning Minister, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr. who spoke on behalf of the Government thanked the World Bank for the level of support across several sectors of the economy focusing in the area of Agriculture, Climate Change, Health, road connectivity, infrastructure development and education.
He lauded the bank for what he termed as “biggest partners” saying the bank has brought development in real time by responding to development needs through flexibility and good leadership under the regional Manager and country director.
“the bank is the biggest partner who has brought development in real time by responding to development needs through flexibility and good leadership from the regional Manager and country director’’ says Minister Tweah.
According to Minister Tweah, there are lots of things happening in the agriculture sectors but citizens need to see the tangible result by redefining various programs, pushing logic, program logic for bank founding and having an impactful project.
He noted that the additional financing is meant to start up with other available resources to scale up rice production and redefine the dynamics. However, this will also improve and transform, not just the agriculture sectors, but the rice production in agriculture driven by Liberian farmers who say they have the expertise in growing rice.
‘’ In order to grow rice, we need to address the land issues, and startup capital and ask the high question why banks are hesitant to credit cash to agriculture farmers and the huge interest rate on borrowing loan’’ he added.
He explains how the world bank, European Union, USAID, IFC and the government need to come together especially under the auspices of the president to develop a deep-risk facility for the agriculture sectors in growing rice.
Hon. Tweah said the Bank has spent valuable time in working with the government by challenging the government to make things better for the Liberian people.
For his part, the Country Manager of the World Bank Khwima Nthara explained that US$ 20 million in additional financing to the REALISE project will be used to provide cash transfers to the poorest and most vulnerable households in Liberia in order to caution them from the impact of the recent increase in the cost of food due to global shocks.
According to him, the second additional financing is meant to help poor people have access to food by giving them cash transfers. He noted that as development partners, this is good, and the bank is happy to support the initiatives.
However, this project will help boost government efforts to increase domestic food production, and reduce dependence on imports such as supporting the production of rice, which is Liberia’s main staple food and other food crops such as legumes and vegetables.
Nthara indicated that the fund will be used to incentivize commercial producers of rice for increased production, facilitates farmers’ access to agri-inputs to cultivate twenty-four thousand hectares of rice and twelve thousand hectares of other crops including the purchase and distribution of climate resilient seed, fertilizers and pesticides by ensuring access to small-scale mechanization, post-harvest equipment and means of transport and the provision of requisite advisory services along the production chain.
The Minister of Youths and Sport, Hon. Zoegar Wilson lauded the bank for the support and said the project will increase the geographic scope to additional counties, cover the number of beneficiaries of components one and two will increase.
The additional two new components are community livelihood and the agriculture support cash transfer program.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the World Bank Country team, the Minister of Youth and Sport, deputies, and the assistant minister along with the Liberia Minister of Finance and development planning.