The Government of Liberia represented by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have recently signed two grant agreements to support the country’s agriculture and tourism sectors.
The signing ceremony took place on Friday, June 14, during the AfDB Annual Meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
According to Mrs. Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, AfDB Director General for West Africa Region, the signing of the agreements demonstrates the bank’s desire to always work with the Government and people of Liberia. She added that it is intended to support the pursuit of Liberia’s development aspiration as contained in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
The AfDB regional director said with the first grant, the bank will have the opportunity to support the country’s Agriculture sector Value Chain development, which is one of the pillars of the PAPD.
At the same time, the second grant is a Technical Advisory Assistance for Capacity Building support to the Liberia Revenue Authority that will support the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to look into developing the Tourism sector to help broaden the revenue base of Liberia.
Director General Akin-Olugbade explained that the first grant supporting the Agriculture value chain development is funded by the Korean Development Fund and is in the amount of US$274,000. The second grant of US$155,000 supporting the tourism sector is critical to making sure that domestic resource mobilized from the tourism sector is enhanced.
She further expressed hope that the grants will clearly identify productive areas in the agriculture value chain in Liberia and provide a platform for the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism to develop legal and organization framework to ensure that the tourism sector can reap real benefit.
Augustus J. Flomo, Deputy Finance Minister for Economic Management, who represented the Government of Liberia at the African Development Bank Annual meeting and at the signing ceremony, praised the bank for its continuous support to Liberia’s initiative, especially the PAPD. Deputy Minister Flomo is also Alternate Governor for the AfDB representing Liberia.
He said the Bank’s engagement with Liberia has increased through its assistance and their willingness to support the PAPD of President Dr. George Manneh Weah.
“Our development plan is the PAPD, approved last year. Since then, we have seen lot of commitment to achieving what we laid out in the plan” Minister Flomo said.
He pointed out that the bank’s support to the agriculture sector is critical; because it is the sector that is going to turn the country’s economy into a positive direction.
Deputy Minister Flomo noted for many years the agriculture sector has been trying to make gains, but more work must be done especially in value chain development which would help structure the Agriculture sector for maximum results.
“When we achieve on these structural frameworks of the program, more results will be expected, so the bank support to the Agriculture sector value chain development is commendable,” he said.
Flomo stated that domestic resource mobilization is very essential. He noted that without a strong revenue base, it would be challenging for government to meet its development agenda. He believes that supporting the Liberia Revenue Authority to focus on potential revenue generation from the tourism sector is good.
He mentioned that Liberia has a wonderful landscape with very high potential for tourism; adding that the program will be a great opportunity to generate more revenue locally. Flomo also used the occasion to acknowledge the bank for all the work that they are doing in the country and in other countries.
“The AfDB understands the real issues,” Flomo added and expressed hope that Liberia could get more funding during the bank’s next funding cycle in order for the country to achieve its development.
He explained that, with the bank helping to alleviate development challenges, it will not be difficult for growth to take place over time. He pledged Liberia’s support the capital increase of the bank so that the bank raises more money to help countries in need.
On the PAPD, Flomo said that his country is looking at infrastructure, especially roads, agriculture and others, to move Liberia forward to a potential growth.