Monrovia — The Government of Japan has committed to provide US$20 million to extend the road from Freeport to the Gabriel Tucker Bridge before the end of 2023 in a bid to address the nation's struggling road sector.
The latest commitment in the tone of US$20 million for road connectivity is in addition to the ongoing Somalia Drive road project.
Feasibility work on the road corridor from Freeport to the Gabriel Tucker Bridge is expected to kick off shortly.
However, the Somalia Drive Highway which was under construction for years will shortly be renamed Japan Highway and turned over on 26th July, 2021 as a gift to the Government and People of Liberia.
The latest commitment from the Japanese government to the Liberian government follows a meeting between Japan Ambassador and President George Weah.
During a tête-à-tête on Thursday, June 24, 2021, when the Japanese Ambassador to Liberia, Tsutomu Himeno, paid him a courtesy visit, the Liberian Chief Executive extended greetings to Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the people of Japan.
President Weah paid tribute to the long standing relations subsisting between the two nations, and thanked the Government and people of Japan for their support to Liberia over the years.
"Liberia remains grateful for the continuous assistance rendered to our overall national development, particularly the interventions made during the period of our country's civil war and during the Ebola and now COVID-19 health crises," Dr. Weah said.
The President hailed Japan for partnering with the Government of Liberia in constructing the Goborchop Market and the progress made thus far in the construction of the Duala General Market.
"As a commitment to modernization of housing for citizens of Liberia, we embarked on a project to delete huts and replace them with concrete housing units. Your government has been a true partner in this effort," Dr. Weah said further, as he acknowledged Japan's contributions to improving and bettering the lives of Liberians.
In the face of COVID-19 Pandemic and its negative impact on global economies, President Weah said Liberia will still continue its nation building programs, including improving infrastructure mainly modern houses and markets, paved roads, health centers and human resource development.
The president named a 9-kilometer corridor road lying between the Gabriel Tucker Bridge and St. Paul Bridge to fully be rehabilitated. He considers the road as an important effort towards the growth and development of Liberia's economy.
"Mr. Ambassador, the rehabilitation of this particular road corridor will ease mobility, accelerate trade and enhance economic activities by reducing the time it takes to transport a container from the Freeport to the business community," President Weah pointed out.
"To achieve these goals, we are appealing to our partners, including Japan, to join our efforts in transforming Liberia and improve lives," Dr. Weah added.
To further attain his development agenda, President Weah told the visiting Japanese diplomat: "During my recent county tour, I again saw the need for further expansion of these housing units to reach all counties of Liberia. I am therefore asking your government to partner with me in building these housing units in addition to modern markets."
For his part, Amb. Himeno thanked Pres. Weah and expressed delight over Japan's relations with Liberia. He promised his country's support to Liberia's developmental agenda.
"We are going to work with you to build structures including roads and markets as well as support the agriculture sector in the area of rice production," the Ambassador said.
The Somalia Drive Freeway road known as Japan Freeway and the JFK Maternity Center are some of Japan's signature projects in Monrovia.