RIA’s Rehab Funding Set

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Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Minister Amara M. Konneh has signed on behalf of the Liberian Government, a US$20 million loan agreement with the Saudi Fund for Development. The loan is to assist with the rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) runway.

According to the Communications Unit of MFDP, the signing comes following a series of prolonged discussions and negotiations.

The ceremony took place on the sidelines of the annual IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting held in Washington DC.

Minister Konneh, who commended the Saudis for accepting the Government’s appeal, assured the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development, Yousef Al-Bassam, who signed on behalf of his organization, that all necessary modalities will be put in place as soon as possible for the smooth implementation of the project.

Mr. Al-Bassam expressed his institution’s willingness and readiness to provide assistance to the Liberian government to improve or replace damage infrastructures at the RIA.

According to a dispatch from Washington, the Saudi Fund is part of a pool fund of US$57 million for the rehabilitation works. Already, the Liberian Government has concluded arrangements with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development to assist with bridging the funds.

Prior to the signing, the MFDP had earlier signed similar agreements with the European Investment Bank to provide US$27 million and the Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADE) an additional US$10 million to complete the financing target.

The Finance Ministry said the Liberian Government is expected to contribute US$3million to complete the required financing for the project.

The dispatched further noted that the rehabilitation exercise will focus on upgrading the RIA runway and the total rehabilitation of Taxiways A and B as well as widening of the Taxiway fillets. Consistent with the concessional nature of this facility, the loan will be repaid within a 20 to 40-year period with an interest rate of two percent.

In another development, Minister Konneh has formally requested for financing for the pavement of the Gbarnga-Mendikorma highway to the Saudi Fund and other Middle Eastern development lenders including the Kuwait Fund, Abu Dhabi Fund, the Arab Bank for Development in Africa, among others.

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