GOL, World Bank Sign US$13M Agreements

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The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Tuesday February 24, 2016 signed two financing agreements with the World Bank (WB), amounting to over US$13.25 million, aimed at supporting youth empowerment and solid waste management programs in the country.

The agreements include US$10 million Liberia Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) International Development Association (IDA) credit, and a US$3.25 million grant as the 3rd Additional Financing of the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation (EMUS) Project.

Speaking during the signing ceremony held in the conference room of the MFDP in Monrovia on Tuesday, Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara M. Konneh, disclosed that the US$10 million Youth Opportunities Project, which is intended for the government of Liberia to improve access to income generation opportunities for about 15,000 targeted youth aged between 15-35 years in both rural and urban Liberia, reflects the government’s commitment to raise the living standard of all Liberians, and will also help to cement the legacy of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

According to him, 50 percent of the targeted youth under the YOP intervention will account for vulnerable female youths throughout the country.

Minister Konneh said the YOP program is expected to last for 5 years with focus on pre-employment social support and household enterprises for urban youth; productive public works and life skills support; and capacity building for cash transfer program, among other interventions. He added that the project will be implemented by the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).

As for the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation Project 3rd Additional Financing grant, Minister Konneh indicated that the funding will help increase access to solid waste collection and disposal services in Monrovia from 30 to 45 percent.

He said the project targeted components consist of solid waste collection, building institutional and technical capacity of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) and landfill cells – piloting recycling – and studies for new landfill. Minister Konneh noted that the project will be squarely implemented by the MCC on behalf of the government of Liberia only for 2016.

The nation’s Finance and Development Planning Minister then expressed thanks and appreciation to the World Bank on behalf of the government and people of Liberia, noting that the Ministry will work closely with the 53rd National Legislature to ensure the ratification of the agreements.

For her part, World Bank Country Manager in Liberia, Madam Inguna Dobraja said she was happy to represent the Bank in signing the two financing agreements, which she said was crucial to the development of Liberia.

The World Bank Country Manager said both agreements – the US$10 million Liberia Youth Opportunities Project International Development Association (IDA) credit and a US$ 3.25 million grant as 3rd Additional Financing of the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation Project – signed between the
Bank and the government of Liberia, will help the country to empower its youth, which accounts for over 60 percent of the nation’s total population.

Considering the crucial developmental needs of Liberia, Madam Dobraja said the Board of Executive Directors of the Bank on November 16, 2015, approved the Liberia Youth Opportunities Project. According to her, the US$10 million YOP loan project will not only benefit young people in the country but the government in general. She said the financing will also provide support for strengthening the government’s capacity to implement its cash transfer program.

The WB boss averred: “The project will provide apprenticeships to vulnerable youth in urban areas and support agricultural transformation and value chain addition, using productive public works and community-driven development approaches particularly for youth in rural areas.

“To mitigate the impact of future shocks, the project will also improve efficiency in the delivery of cash transfers to target households, including youth. The YOP activities will be implemented in close cooperation with the private sector.

“Additionally, this Youth Opportunities project benefits extremely poor and Ebola-affected households by supporting the development of a safety net system, including the development of management information, electronic registration, and payment systems to complement the Emergency Ebola Response Project.”

The signing ceremony was attended by Madam Julius Duncan Cassell, Minister of the Gender, Children and Social Protection; Mr. Saah Charles N’Tow, Minister of Youth and Sports; Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information; Madam Clara Doe Mvogo, Mayor, Monrovia City Corporation; and Mr. Julius K. Sele, Executive Director of Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment, as well as Deputy Ministers and Directors at MFDP and representatives of other government functionaries.

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