New Democrat (Monrovia)

12 February 2013

Liberia: Challenging Task Begins

Discussion for Liberia to benefit from a U.S.$15 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Mission threshold program to improve the basic needs contained in the urgent development program has begun but Financial Minister Amara Konneh who represented Liberia said it will be a difficult task for the country to go through the process. "Let me make is clear that it is a difficult task. It will take us time for us to realize the investment want..." Minister Konneh told journalists after the discussion between him and the MCC Delegation

He added: "It is not a one-day thing or a 12-month's thing. We are at the beginning of this process and we will spend the next 18 months working hard to ensure that Liberia has the investment that we need to transform our economy."

The head of the Delegation Sheila Herrling, who is also Vice President for Policy and Evaluation of the MCC also reiterated that the process will be a difficult one for Liberia who was qualified along with 24 other countries.

The US $15million will be used to improve land rights and access; girls' primary education and trade policy as well as Liberia's eligibility to develop a compact program, which was announced in December last year.

But at the end of the initial discussion with an MCC delegation from the United States Minister Konneh, who coordinates the MCC Compact development project for Liberia said "it (process) will be a difficult one to achieve ret"

Liberia and the visiting Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Mission have been holding high-level discussions on how to develop a Compact for Liberia's potential MCC project.

Minister Konneh began holding series of meetings with the US delegation, including a meeting of the Economic Transformation Pillar of the Liberian Development Alliance at the Ministry.

During the meetings, the MCC delegation headed by Sheila Herrling, Vice President for Policy and Evaluation lauded the Government for strong performance against the MCC indicators, on the $15 million threshold program to improve land rights and access; girls' primary education and trade policy as well as Liberia's eligibility to develop a compact program, which was announced in December 2012.

Minister Konneh informed the delegation, including Jonathan Bloom, Deputy Vice President for West Africa Compact Development and John Underwood, Chief Economist and Managing Director for Economic Analysis, that a Compact Development Taskforce has been established by the Government to begin recruiting a team of experts.

According to Minister Konneh, the Government, in partnership with the development partners, civil society and the private sector have agreed to conduct an open dialogue on how they would share existing analyses with the MCC, so that the Compact development can commence as quickly as possible.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. MCC forms partnerships with some of the world's poorest countries, but only those committed to good governance, economic freedom, and investments in their citizens. MCC provides these well-performing countries with large-scale grants to fund country-led solutions for reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth.

Liberia currently has threshold programs. Following strong performance in the indicators, the MCC announced in December that Liberia is eligible to develop a compact program.

The MCC mission is impotant because Liberia for the firs ttime in December passed 10 out of 20 indicators

showing progress in economic frdeedom, investing in people and good governance. Ecause of this progress, we are not eligible to develop this progress with the MCC.

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