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GoL, World Bank sign financing agreements totaling US$50M

Liberian-Seal

Monrovia, Liberia - The Government of Liberia and World Bank Liberia Country Office on Thursday, January 26, 2022, signed two financing agreements in the amount of USD50 Million.

As per the agreements, US$30 million is provided as additional funds for the Rural Economic Transformation Project (RETRAP); and US$20M towards the Recovery of Economic activity for Liberians Informal Employment Project (REALISE).

The agreements seek to boost government efforts to increase domestic food production, reduce dependence on imports such as supporting the production of rice, which is Liberia’s main staple food and other food crops such as legumes and vegetables.

Finance and Development Planning Minister, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr. who spoke on behalf of the Government, thanked the World Bank for the level of support across several sectors of the economy focusing in the area of agriculture, climate change, health, roads connectivity, infrastructure development and education.

He lauded the bank for what he termed as “biggest partners” saying the bank has brought development in real time by responding to development needs through flexibility and good leadership under its regional manager and country director to Liberia.

“The bank is one of the country’ biggest partners that has brought development in real time in terms of responding to development needs through flexibility and good leadership from the regional manager and country director’’ says Minister Tweah.

According to Minister Tweah, there are lots of things happening in the agriculture sectors but citizens need to see tangible results.

He explained that the additional financing is meant to start-up with other available resources to scale up rice production and redefine the dynamics.

The Liberian Finance Minister noted that financing from the bank will also improve and transform, not just the agriculture sectors, but rice production in agriculture, which is driven by Liberians farmers who have the expertise in growing rice.

“In order to grow rice, we need to address the land issues, start-up capital and ask the high question about why banks in the country are hesitant to credit cash to agriculture farmers, including their huge interest rate on borrowing loans," he added.

However, he pointed out that the World Bank, European Union, USAID, IFC and the government need to come together especially under the auspices of the president to develop a deep risk facility for the agriculture sectors in growing rice.

Hon. Tweah said the Bank has spent valuable time in working with the government by challenging the government to make things better for the Liberian people.

For his part, Country Manager of World Bank Khwima Nthara explained that US$ 20 million additional financing to the REALISE project will be used to provide cash transfer to the poorest and most vulnerable households in Liberia in order to cushion them from the impact of the recent increase in the cost of food due to global shocks.

According to him the second additional financing is meant to help poor people have access to food by giving them cash transfers. He noted that as development partners, this is good, and the bank is happy to support the initiatives.

“However, this project will help boost government efforts to increase domestic food production, reduce dependence on imports such as supporting the production of rice, which is Liberia main staple food and other food crops such as legumes and vegetables” Nthara said.

Nthara indicated that the fund will be used to incentivize commercial producers of rice for increased production, facilitates farmers’ access to agri-inputs to cultivate twenty four thousand  hectares of rice and twelve thousand hectares of others crops including the purchase and distribution of climate resilient seed, fertilizers and pesticides by ensuring access to small-scales mechanization, post-harvest equipments and means of transport and the provision of requisite advisory services along the production chain.

In addition, Minister of Youths and Sport, Hon. Zoegar Wilson lauded the bank for the support and said the project will increase the geographic scope to additional counties, cover the number of beneficiaries of components one and two, which are community livelihood and agriculture support cash transfer programs.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the World Bank Country team, Minister of Youths and Sport, deputies and assistant minister along with Liberia Minister of Finance and Development Planning.

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