The European Union (EU) and the Government of Liberia signed today two Financing Agreements which will lead to new programmes in support to Liberia’s social and economic development and recovery from challenges caused by the recent Coronavirus pandemic. The programmes will target Rural Electrification (prioritizing the South-East region) with EUR 42 million (around USD 46 Million) and support demand driven Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for young people in Liberia with a total of EUR 12 million (around USD 13 Million)
The COVID-19 crisis has hit many African countries, and the EU immediately reacted in helping Liberia but the wider development agenda of the country should not be forgotten. Together with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Samuel Tweah, the EU Ambassador Hélène Cavé launched two new programmes under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). With these two new programmes, all funds under the 11th EDF have now been committed and the EU along with the Government will soon embark on a new programming cycle, to support Liberia financially, targeting some of the priorities of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) from 2021 until 2027.
The objective of the Rural Electrification Programme in South East Liberia is to stimulate the socio-economic development and thereby improve the living conditions of the semi-rural population. The programme is structured in a way to attract and catalyse the investments of the private sector to provide renewable, sustainable and affordable energy to those rural areas currently not being served with electricity. This programme is part of a wider agenda that will further reinforce the already strong partnership between the EU and Liberia in the area of energy infrastructures. In fact, in the last seven years, the EU has dedicated over EUR 100 million to strengthen Liberia in this field. The EU Ambassador stressed that, “We remain committed to our common objective to support and improve the infrastructural development in Liberia and look forward to work closely with all stakeholders involved during the implementation of the project, for a smooth and successful construction of the electricity sector, for the benefit of the populations of Liberia.”
The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme will include promotion of innovative approaches to TVET at upper-secondary school level, provide competitive funding facilities and support private-sector employers in policy dialogues. In complementarity to the ongoing EU funded project ‘Youth Rising’, the TVET programme will be focusing on sustainable growth sectors; such as construction, energy and agricultural value chains by improving the business environment for green employment creation in the construction sector and by scaling up the agriculture value chains for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).The programme will be implemented in collaboration with GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit – German development agency) and expand the current cooperation with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation).The EU Ambassador Hélène Cavé stated: “Liberia has a youthful population, with almost 80% of Liberians under the age of 36. In order to offer opportunities to the future of the Nation, Liberia needs sustainable infrastructure in energy and human skills. Together, the EU and Government of Liberia and our Partners UNIDO and GIZ we are now investing heavily in the future. It is important to have sustainable plans that will benefit the people also after today’s challenging times.”
The signing ceremony of the new programmes with the combined value of EUR 54 million, (USD 59 million) took place via an e-ceremony due to Covid-19 restrictions, attended by Government representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning; Youth and Sports, Education and Energy and other important stakeholders.