Gbarnga/Mendikorma Road Project Appraisal Team Here

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Project appraisal delegates from Arab Lenders have arrived in the country to assess the Gbarnga/Mendikorma road connecting Lofa County with the rest of the country.
Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara M. Konneh made the statement yesterday when he hosted a delegation of Arab lenders to Monrovia.
Minister Konneh assured that the project would commence by the upcoming dry season.
The delegation compromises of OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED).
While in the country, the Saudi Fund for Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADEA) will hold discussions with the Government of Liberia (GOL) on the preparatory work’s full rehabilitation of the runway at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
That project is well advanced as the GOL has fully mobilized the needed funding through credits from the two agencies and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The delegation, Minister Konneh said, is expected to tour the road ahead of the signing of various financial agreements later this year.
Konneh estimated the cost at US$430 million and said it would be implemented in two phases beginning with work on LOT 1, which runs from Gbarnga to Konia at US$184.7 million.
To date, Minister Konneh said the Ministry has secured financial commitment in the amount of US$72 million from the majority of our lenders for financing LOT 1 of the project.
He said the paving of the road from Gbarnga to Mendikorma, considered Liberia’s agriculture belt, “will improve accessibility of roads all year round plus connectivity of roads and bridges between the two counties thus reducing transportation costs.”
Minister Konneh asserted that the project would increase economic activities with emphasis on agribusiness that would ease access to markets, and would also significantly improve access to other social services facilities including basic health care centers and schools, support gender development and ultimately reduce poverty.
He noted that Bong to Lofa counties project begins at Lofa junction in Gbarnga City, Bong County and ends at Konia Town in Lofa County.
According to the Minister, the road runs through the rainforests of Bong and Lofa with growing interest among investors to do large scale commercial farming for production of rubber, cocoa, palm-oil, timber, rice and fruits, among others.
He said the strategic intervention in the road transport sector is in line with the growth constraints analysis, informing the development of the Agenda for Transportation (AfT), which is the medium-term development plan for the country.
It may be recalled that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited the Gulf State of Kuwait in June 2010, during which she made an appeal to the Emir of Kuwait for support for the road program. That request, he said, led to the provision of financing from Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) for feasibility study, an environmental impact assessment study and detailed engineering design and preparation of tender documents for the Gbarnga/Mendikorma road link.
“Today, we are seeing the fruits of that historic visit. Our Arab partners have responded and the Government of Liberia (GOL) is well on its way to opening up the forgotten economic corridors that is expected to be a game changer in our quest to transform Liberia through development,” he declared to a round of applause from the floor.
On behalf of the delegation, Faisal M. Al Kahtani, Civil Engineer of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) thanked the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance for the reception.

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