2 October 2017

Liberia: U.S.$7 Million Grant for Land Administration Reforms Approved

The World Bank has approved an International Development Association (IDA) grant of $7 million for the Liberia Land Administration Project. This project will strengthen the institutional capacity of Liberia Land Authority and establish a land administration system.

This project will help establish processes and infrastructure required to implement land policies and laws focusing on identification, ownership, use and valuation of land. This will lead to the development of requisite land laws and regulations, and conducting awareness raising campaigns on land rights and usage, and establish an inventory of tribal land certificates.

"The World Bank is pleased to support the Liberia Land Administration project because it will create a secure land tenure environment for citizens and communities and investors' land rights in critical sectors such as agriculture, mining and forestry," said Larisa Leshchenko, World Bank Country Manager in Liberia. "As Liberia transitions democratically, it is essential that the Bank helps in addressing potential triggers of conflict in land tenure systems to sustain peace and stability for economic transformation."

This project will be implemented by the Liberia Land Authority. It will further develop the inventory and analysis of tribal land certificates, and the land administration system and support project coordination, monitoring and evaluation. The project, government's entities will benefit from the establishment of a geodetic control network, which will serve as a basic geo-positioning reference for surveying. The project will develop key land regulations and plans which will benefit customary and private land rights holders in Liberia, including individuals and communities, as well as the public and private at the sectors.

"The World Bank is looking forward to support the implementation of this project as land is center of development challenges. The project will in the long-term help to resolve land conflicts, enhance own-source local revenues, and contribute to accelerated growth and poverty reduction impacting land holders and communities, including vulnerable groups and women," said Victoria Stanley and Linus Pott, World Bank Co-Task Team Leaders of the Project.

The World Bank's International Development Association established in 1960 helps the world's poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people's lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.

U.S. Invests $170 Million In Late-Stage Ebola Vaccines, Drugs

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. government is investing more than $170 million to help two new vaccines against the Ebola virus and two Ebola drugs complete the steps needed for approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the department of Health and Human Services, said on Friday it would buy the drugs and vaccines and keep them in a national stockpile, which would be used to protect Americans in the event of an outbreak of the deadly disease.

The investment includes the purchase of up to 1.13 million courses of vaccine, including a single-dose vaccine from Merck & Co and a two-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. BARDA will also buy Ebola treatments from Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

The products were rushed through testing in response to the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016 that infected 28,600 people and killed more than 11,000. Ebola causes severe fever, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding.

"Today we are prepared to add four Ebola countermeasures to the stockpile, whereas three years ago, very few products were even in early stages of development," BARDA Director Rick Bright said.

He attributed the "unprecedented speed" of products' development to partnerships across the U.S. government, other nations and private industry.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provided early-stage funding for many of the products. The new funding is through Project BioShield, which supports late-stage development toward licensure and stockpile purchases.

Under the agreements, BARDA will provide funding for each company to validate its manufacturing processes and make final preparations needed to apply for FDA approval. While that work is underway, BARDA can purchase the vaccines and drugs for potential use in a public health emergency.

Merck will get $39.2 million to finish development of its single-shot vaccine, which got initial support from the Public Health Agency of Canada. J&J's two-dose vaccine will get $44.7 million for late-stage development and purchase from BARDA.

BARDA will also spend $45.9 million on Mapp Biopharmaceutical's ZMapp antibody drug, which had been used experimentally on U.S. missionaries infected in the epidemic in Africa who were flown back to the U.S. for treatment. Regeneron will get $40.4 million to finish development of its antibody treatment.

Liberia

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