21 September 2012

Liberia: World Bank Funds to Tackle More Road Projects

Photo: Boakai Fofana/AllAfrica
Potholes that once litter the streets of Monrovia.

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors Thursday approved US$50 million to help Government of Liberia to tackle gridlock on a major road linking the capital city of Monrovia to the Guinea border.

The funds will support the Road Asset Management Project (LIBRAMP), a flagship transport activity in the region and part of the Government's road construction program.

The funds will also support the development of the Liberia Multimodal Transport Plan, a framework to provide the country direction for creating a modern, effective public transport system network for major urban areas.

"The project will support a vital segment of the Government's program to develop a modern and effective transport system in major cities," said Jamal Saghir, Director, Sustainable Development Department, Africa Region.

"It will foster economic growth, social development, and inclusion, as well as reduce negative impacts on the environment."

The new financing consists of a US$50 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank's fund for the world's poorest countries.

The project will scale up road rehabilitation works along ELWA intersection in Monrovia's center and reduce traffic delays in the city. The funding will also support development of a national transport plan and a strategic investment plan to mobilize funding from Liberia's development partners.

"Poor road conditions and heavy congestion for traffic going into and out of Monrovia's center increase transport time and costs for those carrying goods throughout the region," said Yusupha B. Crookes, the World Bank Country Director for Liberia.

"This project will scale-up road rehabilitation works on key urban roads and connect isolated counties located far from Monrovia to the city center and to neighboring countries."

Improving public transport though road construction and rehabilitation is the main priority of the Government. LIBRAMP is a vital part of the government's transport program and will connect four of the country's five biggest cities. The road works also will cut vehicle operating costs and travel time costs throughout Liberia.

"The project will create a phased improvement of the ELWA intersection and relieve traffic delays for traffic entering and leaving the city center by creating two uninterrupted traffic lanes," said Kulwinder Singh Rao, the Task Team Leader of the project.

"I look forward to effective implementation of this transport project which will have positive economic and health impacts in the region."

* The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world's poorest countries by providing loans (called "credits") and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people's lives.

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries.

Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

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