The Government of Liberia (GoL) and the German Development Bank, represented by KfW on Tuesday, December 11, signed a US$14 million financing instrument under the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF) arrangement as part of funding for the pavement of the Ganta/Zwedru road corridor.
Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah signed on behalf of the Liberian government, while Andreas Fikren Mariam, Director of Regional Office for Cote d' Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, signed on behalf of the KfW-German Development Bank. The LRTF is a multi- partner mechanism to fund road and power infrastructure in Liberia.
The Government of the United Kingdom, through its Deputy Ambassador and Head of Mission Gunter Plambeck, confirmed that it is providing an additional US$6.5 million also towards the same project.
Plambeck said under a new and innovative financing mechanism, the Liberian government will contribute towards the project from proceeds collected from the road fund.
He said with the coordination of the government and the World Bank, the procurement process for work to begin in 2019 is in its final stages.
According to him, his government has been operating with the people of Liberia in a most marvelous way, to ensure that they achieve their development agenda; therefore, "we intend to continue this support under the George Weah government."
Nathaniel McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, commended the German government and other partners on behalf of President Weah for the confidence they continue to repose in the Weah-led administration through tangible support to the Pro-Poor Agenda.
McGill said that Germany's relationship with Liberia will continue to go a long way, "because we can go back to the days we had Bong Mines operating in the country; at which time we witnessed the level of support Germany gave to this country."
This signing ceremony, according to Mr. McGill, is a clear manifestation of Germany's continued support to President Weah's government.
He meanwhile reaffirmed President Weah's commitment to ensure that Liberian contractors participate in the execution of the project as agreed upon by government and partner.
A representative of the KfW Bank, Andreas Fikren Mariam, Director of Regional Office for La Cote d' Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, said the objective of the LRTF is to improve the living condition of Liberians, while equally contributing to the country's peace and stability.
He said the financing agreement is mainly intended to fix the Southeastern road, which is the focus area of the German government through the LRTF.
The selection of the Ganta/Zwedru road, according to Mr. Mariam, is because the region has been one of the least developed areas in the country.
In terms of impact, Mariam said after the completion of the road project, residents in that part of the country will have road connectivity and will be able to widen up the economy.
The Minister of Public Works Mobutu V. Nyenpan, expressed gratitude to the German Development Bank on behalf of President Weah for the numerous financial support to Liberia over the years.
Mr. Nyenpan said the financing instrument eventually culminated into the provision of US$16 million grant contributions the German government contributed to the LRTF.
"This particular grant we are talking about targets the Southeastern Corridor Road Asset Management Project, which covers approximately 225 kilometers, and runs from Ganta to Zwedru. We attach a great deal of importance to this road segment, because the Southeastern part of our country has been neglected and marginalized over the years. So, with the construction of this road will bring relief to the locals," he said.
Nyenpan recalled that the German government has made enormous contribution to the LRTF in the past. As a result of their contribution, the Liberian government was able to construct the road from Red Light to Gbarnga and from Gbarnga to Ganta.
He added, "Even the ELWA Junction/Coca Cola Factory road is part of the benefit of the contribution the German government has made in the past to the LRTF."
He assured Liberians that the project will begin in 2019 but did not say when it will end.