Monrovia, Liberia- The Government of Liberia through the Ministries of Finance and Public Works, has signed a US$100 million loan agreement with the ECOWAS Bank for Development and Investment for the beginning of construction works of the coastal highway.
The agreement which was signed in Monrovia on Friday evening, saw the Ministers of Public Works and Finance, signing on behalf of the Liberian government, while executives of the ECOWAS Bank for Development and Investment signed on behalf of the bank.
Roads to be constructed under this agreement include, the pavement of Barclayville (Grand Kru County)-Klowne (Sinoe County)- Sass Town (Grand Kru) corridor which totals 96.6 kilometers.
Feasibility study and designs for the construction were financed by the European Union.
The signing of this agreement by the Liberian government is a drive toward President Weah’s developmental priority, which is road construction. The Liberian President on several occasions, identified road construction as his foremost priority and told Liberians that road connectivity is essential to national development.
It can be recalled, Public Works Minister, Hon. Monbutu Nyenpan earlier this year, told journalists that the total amount needed to connect all major regions in Liberia is US$1.5 billion. The government in an effort to source funding, initiated loan agreements with two financing firms, ETON and EBOMAF, an action that was heavily criticized by the opposition, and was met with skepticism by the international community. In an effort to intervene, the World Bank and other international partners promised to secure funding from other partners for the government’s road projects in the sum of US$500 million. Whether this agreement was signed based on the World Bank commitment, is not clear.
News of the signing of the agreement between the Government of Liberia and the ECOWAS Bank for Development and Investment was welcomed by the public in diverse ways. Many Liberians from both the ruling coalition and the opposition welcomed the idea, however, some members of the opposition criticized the government for not making details of the loans available to the public, while they threw jabs at the members of the ruling coalition for attributing the loan agreement to the President’s personal finances.
Meanwhile, beginning of the construction of the coastal highway will be a major boost to President Weah’s Pro-poor Agenda, as impediments to travel has been a major economic setback in Liberia. When concluded, the Coastal Highway will connect Southeast Liberia to the rest of the country, while it will be a major advantage in road travel to other West African nations, something that would be the first of it kind in Liberia’s history.