Monrovia — The Government of Liberia (GOL) has designated the Liberian Bank of Development and Investment (LBDI) a leading partner in its development plan.
With its new positioning, Liberia's only development finance institution will finance and administer GOL development finance programs designed to support the growth and stabilization of Liberian industries and provide more lines of credit to small and medium businesses.
The Bank will also provide support to independent business people-market women, gasoline retailers, and keh-keh (tricycle) drivers - entrepreneurs who are working hard to be successful across sectors of the Liberian economy.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) says the GOL's decision is historic, timely and necessary. It realigns LBDI with the mandate of its founding charter and it synchronizes the Bank's activities and investments with central aspects of Liberia's Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
"The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is empowering LBDI to be the major engine that powers the private sector in Liberia through strategic investments in key industrial sectors. We have tasked the Bank with scaling critical infrastructure development," said Mr. Samuel D. Tweah Jr. Board Chair of LBDI and Liberia's Minister of Finance and Development Planning."
The LBDI, the country's largest and only development finance institution, was founded in 1961 by an Act of the Liberian Legislature. Since 1988, it has also acted as a commercial bank.
The bank was led by one its longest post war president and CEO, Mr. John Davies, who stepped down in May after serving his two five-year tenures.
Currently, it is headed by Deo Z. Delaney as the new President and CEO. Minister Tweah said under this new and vibrant administration, the government has decided to place the LBDI at the center of its development drive.
As part of the repurposing under the new administration, he noted that the bank has been designated to lead Liberia's climate initiative. On this note, the Bank will partner with the private and public sectors to support climate change mitigation initiative.
Minister Tweah, making the announcement in an interview reporters on Tuesday said: "The goal is to help move development faster, to empower a Liberian bank where the Liberian people and the government has the biggest share, to protect the bank and make it more profitable. This will make the bank play a meaningful role in agriculture, road, electricity, and give more loans to Liberian small businesses. For example, people want loan. How do you help the bank to do that? You have to repurpose it to be more profitable."
The 2016 World Bank Household and Expenditure Survey reported that nearly 70 percent of poor people in Liberia live in rural areas where poverty incidence hovers around 70%.
"Every Single thing we do in this country must be centered on addressing poverty and improving the lives of all of our people, and we are tracking our progress as we do this."
Minister Tweah added. "We are confident, under Mr. Delaney's leadership, LBDI can contribute measurably to moving Liberia closer to achieving our seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. DeO Z. Delaney, the new President and CE0 of LBDI, says he will prioritize climate finance and economic inclusion for unbanked Liberians as he leads the repositioning and financial recovery of the Bank.
In May, Mr. Delaney replaced Mr. John B.S. Davies whose tenure expired in April.
Prior to LBDI, Mr. Delaney worked as a strategy, management and technology consultant at Accenture in Amsterdam.
"My leadership team will take an analytics-focused, data-centered approach to asset management and capital infrastructure financing," said Mr. Delaney. Positioning LBDI for the future will take principled leadership and an ability to stabilize operations, inspiring trust and attracting sustainable inward investments that will benefit the Liberian economy and people.
The LBDI was established under the joint initiative of the Liberian government and major international financial institutions that purchased equity in the Bank.
LBDI is predominantly a privately owned institution under private management and a Board of Directors elected annually by its shareholders.
The bank commenced operations in 1965 as the Liberian Bank for Industrial Development and Investment. Under an amendment in 1974, the name was changed to the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment.