The Government of Liberia and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed US$64 million loan agreement for the commencement of the first phase of the pavement of the Fish Town to Harper highway.
The agreement which is supposed to be ratified by the National Legislature will began the pavement of about 50km of the 125km Fish Town -Harper road project.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance Thursday, Finance Minister Amara Konneh disclosed that the agreement will bring development to the historically marginalized south eastern region, as well as facilitate commerce that will eventually boost national economy.
Minister Konneh furthered that the road project will also improve access to health centers and schools as well as create employment opportunities for close to five hundred Liberians and will help train Liberian engineers for maintenance of roads around the country.
He noted that Government is working with her development partners including the AfDB to mobilize resources to complete the entire stretch of road from Harper to Ganta. He said it is the first step in paving the Fish Town Harper Road linking Liberia to Cote d'Ivoire and onward to Guinea.
Minister Konneh who represents Liberia on the AfDB Governors Committee, pleaded to members of the National Legislature for the timely ratification of the loan agreement to enable government conclude all arrangements including procurement before the dry season starts.
For her part, the Resident Representative of AfDB Dr. Margaret Kilo disclosed that the current road project is part of the Mano River Union Initiative Transport component, which when completed, the entire Harper to Ganta highway should be completely paved linking Liberia to Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire.
She noted that funds for the second and further phases will become available early next year when the allocation for Liberia under the ADF-13 replenishment is announced.
The project is being funded through loans from the AfDB and the Nigeria Trust Fund, as well as Fragile States Grant including US$1.5 million contribution by Liberian government. The loan agreement when ratified will begin with the pavement of an initial 50km of the 125km to gravel standard of the Fish Town to Harper road project.
The road project will be implemented through the labor based public works project implementation by the Ministry of Public Works.