Dr. Donald Kaberuka made the announcement Wednesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill, Monrovia as part of his two-day ‘state visit’ to Liberia to assess AfDB-funded projects and make new commitment to the country’s development agenda.
According to our Business Correspondent, Dr. Kaberuka said “the US$50 million will be a ‘concessional loan’ – meaning that it will have a very low interest rate.”
“It will be a long-term project that will take 40 to 50 years before completion,” the AfDB boss added.
Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods described the announcement of a road-construction loan as “an exciting moment for me and the Liberian people.”
The improvement of ‘national roads’ in the southeast and other parts of the country was nothing less than a “dream come true.”
The total cost of building those roads is US$105 million, he told journalists present. The US$50 million loan announcement followed the signing of US$4.6 million grant by AfDB, aimed at supporting the country’s public financial management.
The grant was signed in the presence of AfDB’s president Dr. Kaberuka and is expected to be ratified by the National Legislature, an official source hinted.
The agreement was signed yesterday in Monrovia; Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Board Governor of AfDB’s Liberia office, Amara Konneh, signed on behave of the government of Liberia, (GOL) while AfDB’s Resident Representative to Liberia, Madam Margaret Kilo signed for the Bank.
Minister Konneh said the grant will supplement support from other GOL development partners.
“The money will be used for new programs to further expand revenue generation and reduce corruption. We will be establishing a robust revenue authority, merge the Ministry of Planning & Economic Affairs with the Ministry of Finance, so that we can align our development planning with our National Budget,” Min. Konneh noted.
Briefly speaking, AfDB’s Resident Representative, Madam Kilo extolled the Liberian Government for “enduring the challenges to reform, given today’s global economic realities.”
“I am very happy that Dr. Kaberuka is in Liberia to witness the signing of this grant as well as evaluate projects and programs funded by AfDB,” she added.
Projects funded by AfDB will help to strengthen the public financial management of Liberia, and cut down financial malpractices, she pointed out.
Meanwhile, as part of his busy schedule, Dr. Kaberuka on Wednesday, met with House Speaker Alex Tyler, and Senate Pro-Tempore Gbehzongar Findley. Others in attendance were a select number of members of the National Legislature.
Senator Findley welcomed Dr. Kaberuka to the Capitol Building and appealed to the Bank to increase its assistance to Liberia in order to improve the lives of citizens.
The senator’s appeal focused on the creating more jobs for the young Liberians.
“We appreciate the AfDB for its numerous contributions to restore Liberia. We can assure the AfDB family, that Liberia will fast-track projects and facilities approved by the Bank,” said House Speaker, Alex Tyler.
The AfDB boss briefly told the lawmakers that the Bank is interested in supporting and building ‘sound’ institutions, adding that AfDB supports fragile economics.
For her part, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf thanked the AfDB boss for supporting infrastructure, governance, public financial management among others in Liberia.
She described Dr. Kaberuka as “one of the best sons Africa has ever produced, with an interest in positively affecting people’s lives.”She added that Dr. Kaberuka, a renowned Rwandan economist, has taken AfDB from “the challenging institution he inherited, to one that has become better positioned under his supervision.”