EU Amb., Estonian Lawmakers Visit Mt. Coffee Hydro

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European Union (EU) Ambassador to Liberia Tiina intelmann along with two visiting members of Estonia’s parliament, on Tuesday toured EU supported projects in Liberia including the ongoing Mount Coffee Hydropower rehabilitation project.

The fieldtrip gave the EU delegation the opportunity to speak directly to implementing partners.

Among the projects the EU delegation visited to gauge impact were the Monrovia-Bo Waterside road, the support to Ebola affected communities in Bomi County, the site of Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture, Nutrition and Income project, and the ‘Cash Transfer Scheme’ to beneficiaries.

The head of the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) at Mount Coffee, Emmanuel Lawrence, took the team on a tour of the project which is still under construction. “With the look of things and the speed of the construction it is mostly likely that the first phase of the dam will be switched on by December 16,” Lawrence told the delegation.

He recounted the role played so far by the EU to ensure that Liberia for the first time in 25 years switches on electricity to a large swathe of the population.

Lawrence continues: “We will do all we can to maintain this investment. The money we are using is from our partners so we have to protect it.”

With the EU team obviously impressed with the level of work, Ambassador Intelmann emphasized the role the European Union has played in getting the dam to its current status, adding that the EU’s contribution is 57 percent collectively, which makes Europeans the biggest donors to the mount Coffee project.

Intelmann said support for the dam comes from the governments of Norway (19 percent) and Germany (18 percent), and from the European Investment Bank (EIB) (20 percent), “which supports the European Union’s development policy by subsidizing public sector infrastructure projects that are vital to underpin private sector development.”

She said US$1.8 million has been allocated for the rehabilitation and development of the Monrovia-Bo Waterside highway.

“As part of the EU’s investment in the rehabilitation and development of Liberia’s road infrastructure, we are working with the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) to ensure long term maintenance of Liberia’s paved road network, including the road from Monrovia to Bo-Waterside,” she added.

On food security, she said the EU allocated US$4 million for the Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture, Nutrition and Income project as part of its commitment to sustainable improvements in food security and nutrition in Liberia.

The trip also included a visit to Banana Farm Cassava processing group, which was established under a project to improve food security and nutritional practices among households and farmers in Greater Monrovia. The project also helps the group with management and marketing skills, which have allowed them to sell their products locally under the “Bomi Gari” brand.

Meanwhile, the two Estonian parliamentarians, Mart Nutt and Mati Raidma – who are the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Estonia-Africa Parliamentary Group respectively – are expected to make their second fieldtrip later next week to Buchanan, where they will visit additional projects the EU is supporting, including the Grand Bassa Country Service Center; a poultry farm and hatchery; inspect ongoing maintenance on the Monrovia-Buchanan road; and the planned work on the road to Cestos City, River Cess County.

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