Places Liberia on France’s Bilateral Official Development Assistance; World Bank to give US$20M to GOL in June
As a result of his plea to the France government for support “in any way to help jump start the Liberian economy,” President George Manneh Weah has succeeded in putting Liberia on French President Emmanuel Macron’s shortlist of Bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) effective February 6, 2018.
As a result, President Macron has pledged an initial grant of €10 million Euros to Liberia for immediate road maintenance while modalities are worked out for a more comprehensive and sustainable development assistance package for Liberia.
He named the construction of roads, agriculture, education, healthcare and the high unemployment of Liberian youths as key priorities of his leadership.
He also initiated discussions leading to the front-loading of US$45 million of additional financing from Liberia’s 3-year allocation of $210 million to help stabilize the Liberian economy.
President Macron also announced he will meet with European Union’s officials in Brussels in two weeks along with a technical team from Liberia to rally support for the construction of Liberia’s road network.
President Weah met French President Emmanuel Macron on his first official State visit to France, on Wednesday, February 21 and was received at the Palace Elysee.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Weah during his meeting with President Macron recalled the enormous tasks he has been entrusted with since his inauguration as the 24th President of Africa’s oldest independent nation to lead the Liberian people from poverty to peace and prosperity.
However, he was quick to remind his French counterpart that peace without prosperity is an “unfinished agenda” and acknowledged that this will be the greatest challenge of his administration.
President Weah told his counterpart that he inherited an economy that is in ‘stagnation’ and still bleeding from the recovery of the devastating Ebola outbreak that took place 4 years ago.
He further informed his colleague about the deplorable state of the Liberian economy and said while Liberia remains one of the poorest countries in the world it is endowed with abundant natural resources but the country remains one of the poorest in the world due to decades of mismanagement of the resources by past leaders.
He said the poor state of Liberia’s economy is due in part to the failure of previous leaders to exploit the natural resources for the empowerment of the Liberian people instead of a selected few, though he did not name names.
He said it was due to mismanagement of the natural resources and the marginalization of the majority of Liberians that his government has placed “Pro-Poor Policy” at the center of development.
President Weah said he inherited a broke government plagued with unemployment, which is at an unprecedented high; inflation on the rise, the Liberian currency in a free fall state; and foreign reserves at an all-time low, though he did not say how much reserves there are.
He said expectations for the easing of tough economic conditions in the country remain high, and he is concerned that his government may not be able to deliver on the promise of change for the betterment of the Liberian people without urgent and significant assistance from friendly governments such as France.
President Weah used his meeting with several French businesses, investors and private institutions to rally support for his government in an effort to encourage investments and revive the Liberian economy.
While on his official State visit to France, President Weah also met with the Vice President of the World Bank, Makhtar Diop and the meeting concluded that an additional budget support of US$20 million will be provided to the Liberian government in June of 2018.
This is in addition to the US$24.7 million grant earlier given to Liberia by the World Bank.