UK Gov’t Recommits Annual US$70M to Liberia

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Minister Baldwin on UK Development Assistance to Liberia

-Focuses on health and infrastructure; MP advances trade envoy 

 The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland says its partnership with Liberia towards democratic sustainability will continue to be a matter of priority; especially as Liberia strengthens democratic institutions while engendering shared prosperity, peace and stability, a dispatch has said.

According to the dispatch, the Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office  Harriet Baldwin said  the UK Government is continuing its annual  US$70 Million  Development assistance to Liberia, emphasizing multilateral  interventions with the United Nations, World Bank and European  Union.

Minister Baldwin, responding to members of the legislative delegation from Liberia, said, “while the UK Government’s interventions may be based under different multilateral players” it still remains committed to its support of democratic reforms and key development aspirations of Liberia.

Speaking about the extent and scope of UK Development assistance to Liberia, in a briefing session at The UK Parliament with members of a Liberian legislative delegation, Minister Baldwin recounted that the UK Development assistance to Liberia is focused towards Health Care, through Liberia’s Health Pool fund, as well as Infrastructural  development, coordinated through the Liberia Infrastructure Trust.

She stressed that the United Kingdom has been a key donor partner to the health and infrastructure dedicated funding pool spanning ten years.

The UK Government official assured that her government will continue to boost shared prosperity through its overseas development assistance, adding that the UK is also involved through varying private sectors’ players at the level of the Mount Coffee Hydro and the Roberts International Airport — two strategic infrastructural projects key to redirecting the Liberian economy.

Post Brexit Outlook

Minister Baldwin restated that the UK Government clear-cut policy on International Development is committed to spending 0.7 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) on development assistance globally.

She said the UK is currently funding ten percent of the European Union’s development budget; something the UK seeks to continue despite the current political discussion about the EU.

On the need for increasing UK private capital to Liberia, Minister Baldwin suggested that the Commonwealth Development Council (CDC), a private investment outfit of the UK government, remains a unique platform, stressing the high level of equity associated.

She told the Liberian legislators that the UK is also committed to collaborating with Liberia along the lines of climate change while calling on members of the delegation to review the global concerns of tackling Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Stephen Twigg, Chair of the Committee on International Development in the House of Commons, has highlighted the UK Government’s  increasing involvement with Liberia, looking at post-Ebola health recovery and the government’s efforts to sustain Liberian democratic gains.

Mr. Twigg told the gathering that the visit with the charity RESULT further strengthened his perspective about the reach and scope of the British government’s development aid to Liberia.

He told the Liberia legislative delegation that his committee reviews and assesses the functions of DFID, the UK Government’s overseas development outfit, referencing the 2014 report.

The cross-party committee ensures the UK Government executes its commitment of 0.7 percent of gross national income (GNI) to International development within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Twigg pinpointed that the committee drives linkages between strategic outcomes and the general administration and delivery of UKAID. He emphasized that the delegation has provided deeper insights about the expectation and focusing of UK intervention within the Liberian context.

All Party Parliamentary committee                                                                                            

The Chair of the All Party-Parliamentary group on Africa in the House of Commons Chi Onwurah has advanced the need for a trade envoy to Liberia.

Onwurah said such position will advance and deepen trade links with UK and Liberia, stating that civil society and trade councils and other partnerships will compliment bilateral exchanges between the two countries.

Mrs. Onwurah disclosed to her counterparts from Liberia that such multi-layered exchanges will set the stage for the possible establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Liberia, which will sustain bilateral interactions between the United Kingdom and Liberia.

The roundtable with legislators from Liberia and members from both Houses of the UK Parliament, brought into focus  enrollment and the need to increase access to education while  retaining the number of schoolgoing girls in the rural area.

Liberia and UK:  beyond Brexit

The Chairman of the Liberian legislative delegation to London sounded a pitch for Liberia and the UK, looking beyond the horizon in the wake of the on-going Brexit process that will eventually culminate into the United Kingdom restructuring its relations with the European Union.

Representative Johnson Gwaikolo presented what he considers ‘Brexlink,’ exploring linkages between both countries. He recognized the UK multilateral aid assistance to Liberia that is rightfully concentrated along the country’s health and infrastructural needs.

Gwiakolo told his UK counterparts that Liberia’s delegation to Westminster is presenting the gains made with satisfactory access to education- while the search for new frontiers towards quality and greater proficiency across Liberian schools are the new education demand.

The post-Ebola realities demand a new and dynamic approach to healthcare, increasing public health and  access to rural dwellers; critical efforts to tackle infant and maternal mortality .

On the Partnership school Pilot, Rep. Gwaikolo and team asserted that the pilot is being reviewed across different target areas; hopefully to improve its targets and outcomes. The Partnership Schools, along with the general outlook of education, are under scrutiny: as Liberia seeks to drive budgetary and donor focus on improving education as a key driver of development.

Reflecting on the Westminster engagement with a cross section of UK government policy makers, Hon. Gwaikolo enthusiastically asserted that the team is pleased with UK Government and its approach to international development under the aegis of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Stressing on the improved equity prospects of the British private investment outfit, CDC (The Commonwealth Development Council), Rep. Gwaikolo noted that Liberia is exploring increasing private investment to unlock the prospects of the Liberian economy.

The Liberian delegation to the Westminster Parliament was guest of the British Group of The Inter-Parliamentary Union (BGIPU), from 7th-11th May 2018.

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