Liberia: Govt World Bank Signs U.S.$74.2 Million Dual Financing Agreements

Monrovia — The Government of Liberia and the World Bank Liberia Country office have signed a dual financing agreements totaling US$74.2 million.

The Liberia Electricity Sector Strengthening and Access Project (LESSAP), valued at US$64.2 million, and the Recovery of Economic Activity for Liberian Informal Sector Employment (REALISE) project valued at US$10 million were signed on Monday April 12, 2021, according to a release issued here.

Finance and Development Planning Minister Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr., represented the Government of Liberia, while Country Manager Dr. Khwima Nthara represented the World Bank.

The release quoted Minister Tweah as saying that the Government is working to solve the electricity problem by reducing cost per kilowatt from 33cent to three cents.

He thanked the World Bank and other partners for continued support to the energy sector, stating that it could turn the electricity space around by improving the investment climate.

"So this project is in the right direction, 64.5 million will solve a number of things in the electricity space.

Minister Tweah said government is moving in a new direction for transformation, adding that the "old aged" problem has to go away.

He acknowledged the Bank's effort in helping Liberia to solve the electricity problem in the post COVID context.

He assured the Bank that the Government is committed to ensuring the two agreements are ratified as soon as possible because president Weah is a practical president, and he is pressing for results and solving lots of problems.

For his part, World Bank Liberia Country Manager Dr. Khwima Nthara said the importance of both projects cannot be over-emphasized.

"With regard to energy, we are all aware of how much work remains to be done to ensure universal and affordable access to electricity in Liberia," Dr. Nthara said.

According to him, the World Bank and development partners decided to approach electricity problem in Liberia due to the fact that only seven percent of Liberians have access to grid electricity, with 21 percent having access to off-grid sources of electricity.

Under the project titled: Recovery of Economic Activity for Liberian Informal Sector Employment (REALISE), grants and business skills training will be provided to 4,000 vulnerable households to revive and start small businesses.

It will also provide temporary employment and wages to 15,000 poor individuals, half of whom will be women, and will target as well low-income communities and poor families in greater Monrovia, says Country Manager Dr. Nthara.

According to him, the project is being financed through an IDA credit of US$5 million and an IDA grant of US$5 million will go a long way to complement efforts through the ongoing Liberia Youth opportunities Project, implemented by the Youth and Sports Ministry.

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