— As France renews support to Liberia
An urban development project which will create employment for thousands of Liberians has been welcome by Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah Jr.
Minister Tweah has been working assiduously to get the economy on track, while also holding discussions with development partners, as a means of strengthening the country’s economy.
One of the said meetings was with the French Ambassador to Liberia, where Minister Tweah stressed the importance of support to the private sector through loans for small and medium enterprises as a catalyst to sustain economic recovery and growth.
Tweah noted in that discussion that credit to the private sector has trended downward since 2016 on account of a range of factors and described ongoing work with relevant financial institutions to de-risk bank lending to key sectors such as agriculture.
For his part, the Republic of France through its Ambassador Michael Roux Touts has reaffirmed bilateral support to the Government of President George Manneh Weah.
Ambassador Roux revealed during a courtesy meeting with the MFDP that an urban development project in the amount of US$10 million is earmarked for Monrovia.
He disclosed that French bilateral assistance to Liberia since 2018 amounts to some US$33 million, adding that “ resources are variously supporting development projects through the French Development Agency (AFD) and its partner Non-Governmental Organizations like Mercicorps, which is presently implementing a US$5 million youth project in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports”.
The AFD is presently supporting 40 Liberians in a wide variety of technical fields in Yamoussoukro, La Côte d’Ivoire, he says.
He lauded the Government of Liberia for its leadership in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that France has provided US$3 million through Action Against Hunger (ACF), a French NGO, noting that France will continue to stand by Liberia in its fight against the pandemic.
The Ambassador provided a brief on plans to reestablish the French learning institute, Alliance Francais as a way of enhancing Liberia’s regional integration effort through the French language. He noted when launched the Institute will avail special opportunities to Government officials.
The Ambassador and the Minister further discussed a range of issues spanning the current political context of Liberia’s development, macroeconomic reforms being pursued by the Government and the desired impacts; the impact of macro shocks and of COVID-19 on the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and the status of revising the PAPD to address this impact; the importance of policy stability and predictability for investment; and the current negotiation with Arcelor Mittal on its phase two project and its linkage with Liberia’s efforts to develop a multi-user rail system primarily for the transit of iron ore from Guinea through the port of Buchanan.
Ambassador Roux agreed that credit for small businesses is and should continue to be an important focus for the Government. He committed to holding further discussions with relevant French NGOs in similar lines of work in other countries with an eye to exploring possibilities for Liberia.
The Ambassador pledged his commitment to pushing Liberia-French relations to new highs.