19 August 2013

Liberia: 'Liberia Is Still Fragile'

Photo: Wade C. L. Williams/ IPS
Liberians protest in Monrovia (file photo).

World Bank Country Manager Inguna Dobraja has praised Liberia for a decade of peace after several years of bloody civil crisis, but alarmed that the country is still fragile owing to several risk factors.

Inguna Dobraja said with the sustenance of peace, stability, and good micro economy performance, Liberia managed to eliminate its debts reaching the HIPIC point, something she described as great achievements that all Liberians can be proud of.

"... yes there are fragilities; yes there are risks, and there is a full recognition that they have to be addressed to ensure that stability is maintained in the country".

Madam Dobraja attributed the fragility of the state to what she called several risks factors, namely security risks, risks of not implementing the economic diversification program, and risk of not addressing issues of human capacity development problems.

"Also land issue, it is a risk factor; and it adds to the fragility. And if not addressed could increase the fragility of Liberia. That is what we are proposing in our program; we are working very closely with government and partners because these are the issues we cannot resolve on our own," she asserted.

Though Madam Dobraja admitted some fears and worries on the part of the bank, yet she said the bank was addressing some of the issues such as capacity development through its programs.

She expressed optimism that The Agenda for Transformation through its security, rule of law pillars program seeks to eliminate these conflict sensitive situations.

The World Bank Boss spoke Friday, August 16, 2013 during the launch of the dissemination of the Joint Country Support Strategy at the Mamba Point Hotel in Monrovia.

The Country Support Strategy, a four year program aligned with the Agenda for Transformation, was endorsed by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors recently following discussions in Liberia on challenges impeding economic governance, poverty reduction and unemployment which are critical for sustainable growth, development and prosperity.

The program will support selected elements of the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) which will contribute to sustainable growth and poverty reduction, while at the same time address deep rooted causes of conflict and fragility in order to preserve past and future development gains.

"The CPS covers the Banks activities from 2013 to 2017 and the financing for the implementation will build on the use of International Development Association (IDA) credits with strategic use of trust fund and other resources.

The IDA indicative lending program for the CPS period is expected to be about US$308 million, the bulk of the financing in response to Liberian government's request will focus on investments in the energy and transport sectors," a World Bank release states.

The World Bank currently has a portfolio of US$559.8 million which are pumped into seventeen projects among which infrastructure accounts for 85%, followed by economic management, agriculture and environment, and social sectors accounting the remaining 15%.

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