LIBERIA: US$50 Million Urban Project LAUNCHED

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The Government of Liberia(GoL), in partnership with the World Bank (WB) and the French Development Agency (AFD), has launched a fifty million agreement project including two groundbreaking parallel projects.

The Liberia Urban Resilience Project (LURP) and the Monrovia Integrated Development Project (MIDP) are two parallel projects led by the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and financed respectively by the World Bank (WB) and the French Agency for International Development (AFD).

These projects, the Liberia Urban Resilience Project (LURP) and the Monrovia Integrated Development Project (MIDP), share a common objective of increasing flood resilience and improving access to urban infrastructure in selected neighborhoods while enhancing urban management in Liberia.

The projects’ common development objective (PDO) is to increase flood resilience and access to urban infrastructure.

The LURP Project, which started in 2022 with a projected implementation period of six years and similarly, MIDP started in February 2022 and has a five-year life span is totaling the cost of US$40million, including an IDA Credit of US$20 million and an IDA Grant of US$20 million while MIDP is endowed with a €10 million AFD grant.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Liberia’s Public Works Minister, Ruth Coker Collins disclosed that the LURP has four potential geographical intervention areas, and these include Northern Bushrod Island (including Duala market), Central Monrovia-Soniwein Drainage System; Omega Market Area; and South- eastern Paynesville, Duport Road area.

She said MIDP has three intervention neighborhoods, including Lakpazee (Monrovia), Wood camp (Paynesville), and Shoe Factory (Gardnersville Township).

Minister Collins said these areas were selected based on their socio-economic significance, government’s priorities, and a consideration of other ongoing donor investments.

Minister Collins said, complementing the LURP, the MIDP, with a projected implementation period of five years, will prioritize the construction and rehabilitation of climate-resilient public facilities and infrastructure in the neighborhoods of Lakpazee, Shoe Factory, and Wood Camp.

“This project will enhance the capacity of local actors to manage equipment and anticipate risks associated with climate change, focusing on sustainable solid waste management and spatial planning’’ Minister Collins said.

She said the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), supported by various government ministries, agencies, and townships will spearhead the implementation of these projects through a dedicated Project Management Unit (PMU).

The Liberian Public Works Minister also revealed that the stakeholders of the projects include the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), alongside the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), and the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), will actively contribute to the success of these potentially transformative initiatives.

According to her, for efficient delivery and resource utilization, both projects work together using common institutional arrangements, including the same project steering committee (PSC), project technical committee (PTC), and a joint project management unit (PMU).

She also pledged her Ministry’s commitment to working direct with beneficiaries and flood affected communities for the successful implementation of the projects.

The launching ceremony was held on Friday, June 16, 2023 at the Paynesville City Hall, outside Monrovia and was graced by representatives of President George Manneh Weah, dignitaries, representatives from the World Bank, the French Development Agency, French Ambassador, government officials, and development organizations and community dwellers or representatives.

For his part, Work Bank Acting Country Representative, Mark Capeheart Mulbah, assured the World Bank continuous support to GoL and its people while revealing that the projects’ focus is primarily on Greater Monrovia and its environments, a region burdened with urban management challenges and susceptible to flooding due to its rapid post-war population growth and its status as one of the wettest capitals in Africa.

Mr. Mulbah said by investing in climate-resilient infrastructure and capacity building, the projects aspire to reduce flooding, climate risks, and increase access to basic services.

Also speaking at the launching ceremony was French Ambassador to Liberia, Michael Roux. He said the projects seek to address critical, multi-faceted urban management challenges facing the country.

“Flooding has serious consequences on the lives of the people, on their living condition and their health. The population of Liberia has increasing It provides inclusive and sustainable response in the implementation of these projects.’’

“This projects are ambitious and also hope to improve, aim to improves the living conditions of people in the communities with the construction of communities hall, sport facilities, libraries and in addition to this, there is a strong capacity building program include in this project. We hope that these realities in neighborhoods will not only be place the best for better condition but will also be place where people providing better conditions for education and for health,” he stated.

He mentioned the limitation of basic social services and infrastructure, and a weak urban management system characterized by lack of financial and human capitals, weak legal and regulatory frame- work (zoning laws and policies), fragmented responsibilities for urban management are some of the challenges to be improved.

Representing the Liberian Government was Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah. Jr.

Minister Tweah thanked GoL’s partners and said the projects demonstrate the government’s commitment to inclusive growth, sustainable urban management, and climate resilience, in line with the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PADP).

Minister Tweah revealed that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) is the lead entity that represents the Government of Liberia/the Borrower for both projects, charged with fiduciary (financial management) responsibilities of the projects through the Project Financial Management Unit (PFMU) but the government looks forward to community dwellers for sustainable management of the project and their environments in order to reduce the many challenges like flooding, the closing avenues that are meant for free floor of water and drainages.

The Liberian Finance and Development Planning Minister disclosed that the projects are expected to provide employment opportunities through engaging labor in civil and infrastructure works, which will translate to economic empowerment at household levels and improvement in livelihoods. Boost the economic livelihoods of women in the project area, as they will have more time to engage in contact.

He said MFDP is responsible for providing oversight and supervisory role for the implementation of the project while the Project Steering Committee (PSC) is responsible for providing strategic oversight and policy directions, reviewing 18-month work plans and project implementation progress, and settling major difficulties encountered, including policy coordination challenges.

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