The 14 million Euros provided by the Germans for the pavement of the Ganta-Zwedru corridor is one of the many welcoming news Liberians have received in recent days amidst economic, social and infrastructural challenges facing Liberia.
At the signing ceremony on Tuesday, the German Development Bank, represented by KfW and the Liberian government, represented by Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, exchanged documents on the agreement indicating that the German Government will provide the 14 million Euros grant for the purpose of building this road that has always been in a deplorable condition.
Additionally, the government of the United Kingdom also promised to provide US$6.5 million for the same project—something that Liberians could see to be relieving news during a festive season characterized by hardship that afflicts almost everybody living in the country.
Pointing out a specific project for this money is not a mistake on the part of Germany. Besides history about this road being in perpetually deplorable condition, on which thousands of Liberians and foreigners are unable to travel easily, Germany has projects in the southeast where this road leads. One can imagine how people implementing the German Agro-action Project under Welthungerhilfe suffer to connect to their project points along this route.
A large segment of people from the southeastern counties of Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Maryland, Grand Kru and Sinoe find it very difficult going home because of the road condition. The bad road condition has made the major referral hospital in Tappita, the Jackson F. Doe Memorial, inaccessible to patients seeking urgent medical attention.
Germany’s relations with Liberia go way back, and the benefits of German-Liberian relations are numerous. The Germanic States were among the early Europeans to recognize Liberia’s independence, beginning in the early 1850s. Visits by the Germans to the West Coast of Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries were basically in search of mineral resources. Germany has also established agro companies that many Liberians had gained employment from. German merchants have for generations been among the foreigners that shipped Liberian farm produce to Europe. The Liberian economy, therefore, suffered a big hit in the mid-1940s when, on the insistence of the United States, Liberia declared war against Germany, causing all Germans to leave the country.
One of German companies operating here before the Liberian civil conflict was the Nimba County Rural Development Project (NCRDP) that was engaged primarily in Agriculture. The German International Development Cooperation (GIZ) is on the ground supporting various projects.
In order to restore energy in Liberia, Germany contributed a 15 million Euros grant to support the energy sector.
We, therefore, feel compelled to express gratitude to Germany and other partners for their gesture.
During the signing, the Deputy Ambassador and Head of Mission, Gunter Plambeck, is reported to have confirmed that his government was providing additional US$6.5 million towards the same project.
Mr. Plambeck, however, urged the Liberian Government to play its part by contributing its quota from the proceeds collected from the road fund.
We hope the government will take this caution into serious consideration and act in accordance with the instruction.
The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government gave the Liberian people no definite platform objective during the 2017 political campaign. Thankfully, following a few months in power, it has declared road connectivity to be one of its primary policy objectives.
We pray that the Liberian government will make maximum use of the German grant to ensure the successful completion of the road projects.
It may be recalled that at the inception of this government, there were two financing agreements signed, Eton Financing Agreement and EBOMAF, all of which have not yet yielded successful results.
We hope that as this signing is done and preparations for commencement of the project are assured, the government will set every standard that will ensure the partners and the Liberian people that at long last, the country will begin to see substantial improvement in its road conditions, most especially in the southeast.