Urgently needed work to upgrade the runway and address safety at Liberia’s main airport will be backed by Europe’s loan of US$27.3 million through its long-term lending institution, the European Investment Bank (EIB), following an agreement signed in Washington D.C. on Monday, October 13.
Amara M. Konneh, the Liberian Minister for Finance and Development Planning, said “The European Investment Bank had always been a true partner to the people of Liberia. The airport rehabilitation project is another clear manifestation of that partnership.”
The twenty year loan, worth US$27.3 million (EUR 19.6 million) for Roberts International Airport was formally agreed on the sidelines of the World Bank-IMF meetings in Washington at a ceremony attended by Amara M. Konneh, Finance Minister of the Republic of Liberia and Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Dr. J. Mills Jones.
The occasion also allowed detailed discussion of issues of pressing concern in Liberia, the government’s economic recovery plan and EIB’s engagement in West Africa.
“The European Investment Bank stands side by side with Liberia at this time of need. We will continue our engagement with Liberian officials, partner institutions and European Union Delegations in the region and will ensure that any support we can provide will be of best use. Upgrading Monrovia’s airport is essential for Liberia and we are pleased to share experience from similar projects elsewhere in Africa.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.
This is the first European Investment Bank operation with the Liberian Airports Authority and follows recent support for improving electricity generation in Liberia through backing for rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant.
The runway work will also include improvements to runway drainage and runway lighting. When completed, it will allow Robert International Airport to comply with international civil aviation standards. The project is being co-financed with the Saudi Fund for Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa.
The European Investment Bank has experience supporting airport investment around the world and has provided EUR 12.5 billion for new airports and airport upgrading in the last decade. This has included runway improvements in Maputo, upgrading regional airports in Tanzania, air traffic control in Madagascar and West Africa, as well as Heathrow Terminal 5, Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt and Paris airports.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union, owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.