The Liberian government has secured over US$200 million for the pavement of the road leading from Ganta, Nimba County to Zwedru in Grand Gedeh County, Finance and Development Planning Minister Boima Kamara has confirmed.
Minister Kamara told ELBC Radio during an interview on Monday, May 8, that the pavement of the road is one of the results of the recent Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
He said the move is part of the government of Liberia’s priorities to improve road conditions across the country, thereby removing the constraints on economic growth and development.
Meanwhile, Minister Kamara said at present, the country’s economic growth is projected at 3 percent for 2017, adding, “This is a great prospect for the country.”
Shortly after the minister’s pronouncement, residents in Ganta, the commercial hub of Nimba County, as well as those in Zwedru reportedly took to the streets to welcome the news concerning the pavement of the highway.
The highway has over the years suffered intermittent closures, especially during the peak of the rainy season, which is most intense between July and September.
It may be recalled that former Finance Minister Amara Konneh and a delegation attended the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF in July 2014 where they held ‘constructive country-level discussions’ with the bank’s vice president for Africa, Maktar Diop, on support for Liberia’s development agenda, the Agenda for Transformation (AfT).
The meeting with Mr. Diop, former Finance and Economy Minister of Senegal, centered on addressing bottlenecks affecting Liberia’s portfolio performance and disbursement rate under the International Development Association (IDA) financing arrangement on key projects, including support to the health sector, direct budget support and financing of the Red Light to Ganta-Guinea Border Road Project.
Konneh praised the bank’s country team for considerable progress in accelerating Liberia’s portfolio and acknowledged challenges faced by the country in speeding up ratification of funding agreements, which has adversely affected the rate of disbursement on Liberia’s IDA portfolio.
He made specific requests for the bank to use its convening power to assist Liberia raise additional and alternative financing models for the Ganta-Tappita to Zwedru highway estimated at about US $386 million.
“This corridor has key economic and political importance for our country and it is critical we direct investments and accelerate engagement with other actors to have the feasibility studies for those projects finalized to allow for resource mobilization and works,” Konneh said.
At the time, Mr. Konneh said so far, Liberia had US$80 million in IDA-committed funding for the Ganta to Zwedru road, but would need over US$300 million to complete the financing requirement for the project.
Each year, thousands of government officials, journalists, civil society organizations, and invited participants from academia and the private sector, gather in Washington DC, USA for the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group. At the heart of the gathering are meetings of the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee and the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee, which discuss progress on the work of the IMF and the World Bank Group.