In spite of the existing border closure between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, as a precaution to mitigate Ebola transmissions, Liberian market women are still able to negotiate their way across to get produce for their customers. In fact, navigating security on either side of the border seems to be the easy part. The hard part is navigating the mostly impassable roads on the Liberian side, from Loguatuo to Karnplay, on the way to Monrovia and they are calling on the Government of Liberia to do something about it.
The road condition continues to deteriorate daily, with erosion from the heavy rains creating ditches, pot holes and at some points the road is being washed away, posing serious threats to motorists.
This stretch of road is likely to collapse this raining season if nothing is done to have the road rehabilitated.
Business people plying the route are appealing for urgent attention from the government to intervene before the road collapses altogether during this rainy season.
“We are facing problem on this road and if nothing is done, the road will cut off completely and we will go out of business,” said one Lorpu, a vegetable seller who frequently crosses over into Cote d’Ivoire to get produce to sell back in Liberia.
“We get all these tomatoes from the Ivory Coast,” she explained, “but, before we reach Monrovia, most of our tomatoes will have spoiled because of the road. Even though Ivory Coast border is not officially open, we still manage to get there because it is the only route where we can find these vegetables.”
When this reporter visited the port, he saw several trucks waiting for goods from the Ivory Coast while other were already loaded with goods.
“Despite the Ivorian side of the border being closed, this port is still booming with goods (mostly agriculture produce) from Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso, but the road condition remains the major problem.
However, traders using Ivory Coast for business are complaining of alleged extortion from the hands of the Ivoirien security assigned along the road to the Ivorian Town of Danane’ and the border.
The traders complained that they paid the equivalent of US$ 50 to the security along the gates from the border to Danane.
“We spent a lot to go to Ivory Coast for these goods and when we returned back we encountered transportation problem owing to the road,” one of traders said.
Authorities on Liberian side of the border are tight-lipped concerning the business activities and constraints the traders faced, because according to them, they are “not clothed with the authority to speak”.