13 February 2013

Liberia: U.S.$450 Million for Transport Sector

Over the last six years, the World Bank says it has committed $US450 Million Dollars to Liberia's transport sector alone.

Mr. Kulwinder Singh Rao, Task Team Leader, Transport Sector, World Bank-Liberia, made the disclosure Friday at the World Bank's second quarterly media report.

"Over the last six years the World Bank has committed $US450 to the transport sector in Liberia" Mr. Rao said. Adding, "This means that some of the money has been approved, while we're also waiting for the rest to be approved. But, this is what the WB has committed for the transport sector in last six years."

After years of prolong civil wars in the country, Mr. Rao said the WB has since focused its attention on rebuilding Liberia's broken infrastructure, and, he said, the transport sector is one key area where the bank has heavily invested.

"I am happy to be here today with you on the World Bank's engagement in the Transport Sector of Liberia" Mr. Rao told a team of journalists Friday, saying further, "As you may be aware, a well performing transport sector is critical in stimulating economic growth and development of any country and more so in a country that has suffered civil upheavals."

Since the World Bank returned to Liberia in 2006, Mr. Rao noted, the International Development Association (IDA) has successfully partnered with the government of Liberia in re-establishing basic transportation infrastructure as well as building institutional capacity.

Mr. Rao named the rehabilitation of major highways and the pavement of feeder roads in the country as some of the key projects that have been earmarked by the World Bank, especially in recent years, including the Bokay Town-Buchanan Highway, Monrovia Roberts field Highway, Caldwell Road, amongst others, and added that there are road projects pending, including

the Gbarnga-Mendekoma Highway, Gbarnga-Ganta Highway, the Monrovia-Gbarnga highway, projects he said when completed will help to greatly improve the country's transport sector and the economy at large.

"The visible improvements are evident through a series of projects amounting to about $US450 million which are collectively managed as a program" Mr. Rao said.

"These projects have helped finance rehabilitation of nearly 414 kilometers of paved roads (accounting for 56% of total paved network of roads recognized by the Ministry of Public Works and construction of three major bridges (including recently completed Vai Town Bridge)," Mr. Rao added.

In its current Liberian portfolio, Mr. Rao disclosed that the World Bank has already set aside 16 projects that been approved, including 4 regional, for a total commitment of US$569.6million, of which approximately US$407.60 million remain to be disbursed.

Of the pending projects earmarked in the country, he said the WB said Infrastructure accounts for almost 80 percent, followed by social sectors (9 percent), agriculture and environment (5percent) and economic engagement (5percent).

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