To support local manufacturing and infrastructure development in Liberia, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on June 15 announced a partnership with Fouta Cement Corporation (Fouta Cement), Liberia's second-largest cement supplier, to help it increase production and reduce Liberia's reliance on imported construction material.
Announced on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum, a financing package arranged by IFC will help Fouta Cement build and operate a cement grinding plant in Monrovia with an annual production capacity of 350,000 tons, creating 250 jobs during operations.
According to a release from the World Bank Liberia office, the financing package of up to $21.2 million consists of a loan of up to $5.4 million from IFC's own account, a $10.8 million loan from the International Development Association's Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility (IDA PSW BFF), and a loan of up to $5 million to be mobilized from Bank of Africa United Kingdom.
“Liberia’s vast infrastructure gaps, worsened by years of conflict, are hindering the country's economic and social development,” the releas said. “Boosting local cement production will give developers a reliable, affordable source of the essential building material, supporting new roads, bridges, and other infrastructure Liberia needs for growth and job creation.”
“IFC’s package of long-term investment and advisory services gives us the foundation and support we need to make the switch from reseller to manufacturer, thereby adding more value and creating more jobs in Liberia,” said Hamidou Gnan, Fouta Cement’s Managing Director.
“IFC's partnership with Fouta Cement comes at a critical time for Liberia as it recovers from the economic effects of COVID-19 and seeks to meet the longstanding infrastructure needs of the country. The investment is also IFC's largest in Liberia in recent years and is a strong show of support for the country’s private sector and growth,” said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC's Vice President for Africa.
IFC will complement its investment with advisory services to help Fouta Cement implement best-practice environmental and social (E&S) standards and develop internal E&S and occupational health and safety capacity.
The new plant will allow Fouta Cement to stop importing finished cement. The switch from cement imports to clinker imports — a constituent of cement — will cut the weight of Fouta Cement's imports by 20 percent, reducing its net greenhouse-gas emissions by about 3,200 tons of CO2 equivalent annually.
IFC’s strategy in Liberia focuses on supporting agribusiness, manufacturing, and access to finance. A member of the World Bank Group, the IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. The IFC works in more than 100 countries, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.