Liberia Signs US$20M OPEC Fisheries Deal

From left to right OPEC boss Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Liberia’s Finance Minister Tweah, DG Glassco and World Bank Liberia Country Manager Khwina Nthara

The government of Liberia through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) has signed a US$20 million loan with OPEC Fund to co-finance the “Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project with the World Bank.

OPEC Fund for International Development provided the US$20 million loan and a US$240,000 complementary technical assistance grant to Liberia to co-finance the Project in Liberia.

Finance Minister Samuel Tweah signed on behalf of the government of Liberia while Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Director General of OPEC signed on behalf of his organization.

The signing ceremony was held on Friday October 14, 2022 in Washington DC at the World Bank Headquarters.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Director General of OPEC Fund said they were delighted to provide funding to the Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project because the project is intended to create job opportunities for coastal dwellers. 

“We are signing today a very important project and it is our honor as a fund along with the World Bank to be part of the signing ceremony.”

Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa disclosed that when he read about the impact the Liberian fisheries project would have on the more than 55,000 beneficiaries his institution saw the need to provide the necessary funding to help make the project a success.

Additionally, Dr. Alkhalifa stated that the project will also provide what he termed as sustainable job opportunities for coastal community dwellers which they at OPEC consider as welcoming.

The OPEC fund Director General announced that aside from the US$20 million loan they are providing a complementary technical assistance grant of US$240,000 which will have particular impact on women in fisheries.

Dr.  Alkhalifa recalled that the OPEC Fund has been working with the government of Liberia on several developmental initiatives since 1978.

Making remarks before the signing ceremony Finance Minister Samuel Tweah described the partnership Liberia has entered into with OPEC, the World Bank group as a success of partnership and also a historic partnership. 

Minister Tweah indicated that developing countries around the world can only advance by means of stronger partnership through shared resources. 

The Liberian Finance Minister however recalled that the World Bank has heavily invested in the Liberian Fisheries sector, this he said would lead to transformation in the sector as fishermen and fishmongers stand to heavily benefit.

At the same time, the Director General of the National Fisheries NaFAA Emma Metieh Glassco mentioned that the objective of the Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries is to transition from artisanal fisheries to semi-industrial fishing which leads to more sustainable fishing.

Madam Glassco said such methods will help fishermen increase their catch, ensure food security and improve their livelihoods.

“I am super excited that we have been able to attract additional US$20 million to the US$40 million fisheries project totaling US$60 million for the people of Liberia with the aim of developing our fisheries sector which has enormous potential of contributing to economic growth”.

Moreover, Madam Glassco attributed the success of the Liberian fisheries sector to the tremendous role of President George Manneh Weah who, according to her, has over years highlighted the potential of the sector to his international counterparts thus leading to the continuous international financial assistance.

Madam Glassco said her team was pleased to attract what she called additional US$20 milion for the Liberian Fisheries sector, which has enormous potential of contributing to economic growth.

“I wish to extend thanks and appreciation to my president, George Manneh Weah, for usually amplifying the potential of the fisheries sector whenever he had the opportunity to discuss with his international counterparts”.

The project will improve the management of fisheries, making it more efficient and sustainable and as well enhance the living conditions of beneficiary communities, creating better incomes and new opportunities for over 55,000 people, including women, children and youth. 

The fisheries sector provides dietary protein for sixty five percent (65%) of Liberia's population and contributes at least three percent (3%) to the GDP with a huge potential of contributing more considering all the recent foreign investments in post-harvest infrastructure and improvement of coastal livelihood.

The Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project, (LSMFP) will positively impact at least six densely populated coastal counties of the nine coastal counties in Liberia, which include Montserrado, Margibi, Maryland, Grand Bassa, Sinoe, and Grand Kru. The Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project is designed to improve the ecosystem of fisheries, promote sustainability, increase the volume of fish landings and create more than 2,000 jobs. It will also help to implement climate-smart technologies and climate-resilient business improvements.