The Liberian Government delegation to the 2013 annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC has concluded various high-level meetings geared towards accelerating infrastructure development in Liberia.
According to a press release, this year's Annual Meetings were meant to follow up on show case made on the Agenda for Transformation during the last Annual and Spring Meetings.
The meetings, which also included technicians from the Ministry of Finance, Public Works and the Central Bank of Liberia, took stock of progress made on targets set in Tokyo (Japan) and Washington D.C. in 2012 and in Spring of this year respectively, with particular focus on infrastructure including energy and roads.
The delegation was headed by Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh, accompanied by Central Bank Governor Dr. Mills Jones, Public Works Minister Antoinette Weeks, Montserrado County District #8 Representative and member of the Legislative Committee on Banking and Currency, Munah Pelham Youngblood, and the President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, John B.S. Davis.
While in Washington D.C., the Liberian delegation participated in many high-level meetings including one with the World Bank Vice President MaktarDiop; the World Bank Country meetings on infrastructure; the IMF Country Team, IMF Director and Deputy Director (reviewer for Liberia) for Africa; US Secretary of the Treasury Jack LEW on Power Africa; the European Investment Bank; the Kuwaiti Fund on Gbarnga-Menikoma Highway; the African Caucus meeting; IMFC Meeting with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde; the African Group 1 Panel and Constituency; Citi Bank Group on power and port financing in Liberia; AfriEXIM Bank President and the g7+ meeting with the World Bank President.
During the high-level meeting with the World Bank Vice President MaktarDiop, Minister Konneh highlighted progress made on Liberia's effort towards achieving a vision for sustainable growth and development particularly investing in infrastructure, with special emphasis on the rehabilitation of the energy sector, roads and ports.
He advocated for the reallocation of unused IDA 16 resources to Liberia and an increase in IDA 17 allocation for Liberia when the Bank replenishes it in December, emphasizing that his country, which is currently implementing a robust economic transformation strategy, required more financial and technical supports towards the successful implementation of Liberia's ambitious development agenda, the Agenda for Transformation.
Konneh particularly stressed the urgent need for assistance in the infrastructure sector, including the energy sector particularly transmission and distribution, capacity building to help the Government of Liberia separates the regulatory and utility management functions of the energy sector through capacity building on procurement to roll out a comprehensive automated procurement system linked to the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) across government that will reduce corruption, ensure contract management and a speedy implementation of the various infrastructure projects.
He also made a passionate push for support to address the unemployment situation in Liberia by providing more support to youth employment to skills program currently being implemented to address skills and unemployment issues.
The Finance boss pleaded with the Bank for financial support towards funding the gap in the resettlement action plan (RAP) to reimburse those who are in the right of way for all of Liberia's current infrastructure projects.
In his response, the World Bank VP Diop promised the Bank's commitment to assist Liberia in removing the impediments, thus fast-tracking infrastructure development in the country.
With funding, it is expected that various road projects including the Somalia Drive, Red Light to Ganta-Guinea Boarders, as well as the construction of a new bridge in Caldwell will be accelerated, with works commencing as early as this dry season. Works have already begun on the flagship Paynesville to Ganta Highway's pavement.