Acting Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara M. Konneh has lauded the World Bank Group (WBG) for granting Liberia a whopping US$52 million. This amount is a part of a total US$105 million granted to the three countries hardly hit by the deadly Ebola virus disease in the West Africa sub-region.
Finance Minister Konneh made the commendation Wednesday, Sept 17, at the World Bank Country offices in Congo Town, Monrovia as he and others in Sierra Leone and Guinea, video linked to Washington D.C., USA, where the actual signing ceremony for the US$105 million grant took place.
Liberia’s Ambassador to the US, Amb. Jeremiah Sulunteh, signed on behalf of the Government of Liberia.
The grant, according to the World Bank is intended to finance Ebola-containment efforts underway in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone as well as help families and communities to cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and rebuild and strengthen essential public health systems in the three worst-affected countries to guard against future disease outbreak.
Minister Konneh expressed his gratitude to the World Bank Liberia country manager, Madam Inguna Dobraja, for working hard to push and to conclude this in a timely factor. “It has been truly a collaborative effort and it shows a through partnership and we thanked them for that,” he added.
“For Liberia, this epidemic is creating a lot of setback for development agenda and I am sure is the same story both in Guinea and Sierra Leone, with the fact that the three countries are signing today with the bank is a clear demonstration of using a regionally approach in solving these problems,” the Minister noted.
Minister Konneh continued: “This is where Mano River Union comes into place beyond the signing today; we hope that we can continue to share information, knowledge as we fight this epidemic.”
He informed the WBG via video link to Washington D.C. that the grant will focus on three keys area, including support to health system and fighting the outbreak and containing it.
The others, he said will be invested in health workers, who are on the frontline of this Ebola war and to provide food and basic services to affected family and communities.
“So, we thank you very much for the support is timely we hope that we can make it effective in the next 20-48 hours start disbursement.”
“The Ebola epidemic is a national security issue not just for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea but for the entire West Africa countries, and such, we called everyone to join the fight,” he concluded.
Also speaking, Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Jeremiah Sulunteh, joined Minister Konneh in expressing Liberia’s gratitude to the WBG for the grant.
Amb. Sulunteh told the Bank that this war that Liberia is fighting is more than the civil war which it fought nearly 11 years ago.
“Those days, the warring parties were used to be called to a peace talk and cease fire would be announced but this war there is no peace talk, so we need to do all to stop this virus,” Amb. Sulunteh added.
Also speaking, World Bank Liberia Country Manager, Madam Inguna Dobraja, disclosed that the duration for the grant is 12 months and implementing partners, including UN Agencies, would be financed by the Government of Liberia, through its Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.