The Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Milton A. Weeks, has informed rural community finance institutions (RCFIs) that the Government has signed a US$10.8 million financing agreement with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for a grant facility and loan for rural community financial institutions in Liberia.
The funding is being channeled through the Central Bank of Liberia and will support the establishment of additional rural finance institutions while strengthening existing ones.
The CBL Executive Governor made the statement during the opening ceremony of a four-day national RCFI seminar and capacity building in Gompa, Nimba County on December 11.
Representatives from the existing 12 RCFIs from nine counties are taking part in the seminar that has brought together facilitators from Sierra Leone.
“As part of our efforts to strengthen rural community financial institutions,” the Governor said, “the Central Bank of Liberia has been working over the past five years with other key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to seek external funding through the International Fund for Agricultural Development.”
He said the Central Bank’s presence at the opening ceremony of the workshop was a demonstration of its commitment to RCFIs.
According to the CBL statement, the Executive Governor expressed his firm belief in the unique role that rural community finance institutions play in economic development and that, based on current data, he was impressed with their growth thus far.
He then praised the Afriland First Bank Liberia Ltd for its support to and partnership with the RCFIs.
Weeks told managers and the Boards of Directors of the rural community finance institutions attending the workshop that, although the Central Bank of Liberia will continue to take steps to build the capacity of RCFIs and provide technical support for them, he expected their managements and Boards to take their responsibilities seriously and work to improve their performance.
He added that the Central Bank would not hesitate to take action against rural community financial institutions that were not viable or do not comply with the Central Bank’s requirements.
For his part, Robert Nkous of the Afriland First Bank Liberia Ltd said the training was one of several events planned for managers and Board Members of RCFIs, reiterating that RCFIs are key in rural community wealth creation and in the fight against poverty.
Also speaking during the opening ceremony, the Mayor of Gompa, Benjamin Dokpa, expressed his gratitude to the Central Bank family for choosing his city as the venue for the national seminar.
He indicated that although Gompa City has the largest concentration of banks outside of Monrovia, there was a need for the establishment of banks in other parts of Nimba County to increase access to financial services.