World Bank Approves support to Liberia

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors, has approved 30 million Dollars to support Liberia’s medium-term strategy to strengthen its transparency and accountability mechanisms.

It is also to enable them expand their economy, increase access to quality education and improve health services that are critical to fighting the current Ebola epidemic.

The financing, which would support the Second Poverty Reduction Support Operation (PRSDPO II), includes a $20 million International Development Association (IDA) credit and a $10 million grant allocated from the World Bank Group’s IDA Crisis Response Window, designed to help low-income IDA countries respond to exceptionally severe crises in a timely, transparent and predictable way.

In a statement issued by World Bank Group office in Washington and copied to Ghana News Agency, said the PRSDPO II would support the implementation of Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy called the Agenda for Transformation, a medium-term strategy, in the context of Liberia’s long-term vision plan, which aims to transform Liberia into a more prosperous and inclusive society, and help the country to achieve middle-income country status by 2030.

The grant was part of previous pledges from the Bank Group for the emergency response to Ebola.

Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia said: “Liberia has made significant progress in reducing poverty after a history of conflict, but the country is now faced with heightened challenges brought on by the Ebola epidemic.

“The operation will continue to support the government’s poverty reduction strategy and foster an environment to bring much needed jobs and education to the Liberian people across the country. It will also help enhance access to basic health services.”

Errol George Graham, Task Team Leader for the project explained that “By improving access to education, as well as addressing infrastructure and credit constraints, the operation will help prepare Liberian workers, especially the youth, for productive employment and give them access to more jobs. We also are happy to support the government in its efforts to strengthen health service delivery during this period of crisis and beyond”.

The World Bank Group is mobilising nearly $1 billion in financing for the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis. This includes more than $500 million for the emergency response and to help speed up the deployment of foreign health workers to the countries, and at least $450 million from the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to enable trade, investment and employment in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Ebola epidemic, centred in West Africa, has infected more than 13,000 people and killed nearly 5,000.

The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes 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 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries.

Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 per cent going to Africa. GNA

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