President George Weah has reiterated his administration promised to connect much of the country by road in the midst of the completion of “66 kilometers of primary roads, while 365 kilometers is ongoing construction “
The President’s announcement, which was contained in his fourth state of the nation address comes at a time when a significant portion the country still remains inaccessible due to bad road conditions, especially during the rainy season.
“First of all, let me reaffirm that road connectivity continues to be my flagship program, which is intended to serve as a major catalyst for national development. It is important that all of the fifteen (15) counties in Liberia should be interconnected by modern roads,” President Weah said. “This entails the construction of approximately 500 kilometers of paved primary roads, as well as the maintenance of approximately 4,000 kilometers’ of urban and secondary roads.”
Though most of the projects envisioned by the President he hopes to finish by 2023, it will revitalize the economy and improve trade and commerce by reducing travel time and increasing access to markets for rural farmers.
The 50 kilometers road from Harper to Karloken and 16 kilometers from Harper Junction to Cavalla River are essential to foster economic development in Maryland County, which increased vehicular movement along those routes, making access to markets, educational institutions, hospitals, and other social services critical for economic growth and development of Liberia easier.
As for the 365 kilometers road, which includes the 67 km road from Ganta to Yekepa, 47km road from Sanniquelle to Logatuo, and 80km of road along the Bong to Lofa corridor, if completed, will not just boost trade and commerce in rural Liberia, through inter-counties connections and travels, but will spur further infrastructural development in those rural cities.
“In the Southeastern corridor, 80 km road from Karloken to Fish Town. Similarly, funding has been received and preparatory work is ongoing on the 45km highway from Roberts International Airport to ELWA Junction and the 6km road from ELWA to Coca-Cola Factory. A contract has been awarded for a 39 km road from Ganta to Saclepea in Nimba County,” President Weah said.
The President added: “Additionally, complete studies with committed funds are now available for another 131km of roads, and procurement processes are ongoing. These corridors include 50km road from Barclayville to Sasstown, which is part of the coastal highway project.”
Meanwhile, President Weah has disclosed that the Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development has approved an initial US$50 million for the coastal highway project, while financing for the construction of 20km road from Fish Town to Kaylipo, and a 61km road from Saclepea to Tappita already secured.
“The World Bank has earmarked US$55 million for the pavement of the Tappita – Zwedru highway. However, the government is now is in discussions with partners for funding commitments for the following roads: a 208 km road from Buchanan to Greenville, a 31 km road from Yarkpa Town Junction to Cestos, and a 146 km road from Konia to Voinjama,” President Weah said. “In infrastructures, such as roads and electricity, the goal is to continue delivering on major projects.”
Ahead of these road constructions, transport costs continue to remain a key factor between urban and rural market integration, as prices of goods in urban areas are twice as high in rural areas due to bad road conditions, which increase transportation costs.
It will also lead to farmers easily getting their produce to markets, while their commodities from urban cities would be swiftly transported to rural areas as isolated rural markets and production areas would then be connected.
In a related development, President Weah said despite the country’s financial constraints, his government has been determined to focus its attention on various community development schemes that would enhance the living standards of the people.
“Looking ahead in this coming year and beyond, the focus of my Government has always been my people and how I can improve their lives. The only way this can be achieved is by moving closer to the communities and working with them directly to empower them economically, to provide basic social services, and improve their lives in all aspects. This is clearly the focus of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development,” he said.
According to the President, some of the project includes the construction of 89 housing units in New Kru Town as a replacement for several persons who became homeless during a 2019 fire disaster.
“The 14 Gobachop Market, which is situated within the Omega Community, Paynesville City, Montserrado County, was successfully completed and dedicated in September last year,” the President said. “The Lango Lippy High School situated in Kakata, Margibi County, and the Kendeja School, situated in Paynesville, Monrovia, were renovated and dedicated last year.”
The President added, “A total of 39 housing units were completed under Phase 1 of the Grand Gedeh housing project, and the barracks at the EBK military base were renovated to improve the living conditions of our men and women in arms. The work on both Kaylia/Taylia bridges in Porkpa District, Grand Cape Mount County, has finally been completed. Both bridges are expected to benefit over 20,000 poor people residing in these remote communities.”