Posted by: APO | 27 June 2008

2008 Liberia Poverty Reduction Forum / Toward Rapid, Inclusive, and Sustainable Development

2008 Liberia Poverty Reduction Forum / Toward Rapid, Inclusive, and Sustainable Development

MONROVIA, Liberia, June 27, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — At the 2008 Liberia Poverty Reduction Forum which concluded today, President Johnson Sirleaf called on partners to step up support for Liberia’s poverty reduction and reconstruction program. In response, partners confirmed that their support to Liberia is on the order of 250-300 million USD in 2008/2009; partners agreed with the Government of Liberia on the need to fully align these funds to Liberia’s highest development priorities.

Liberia’s partners committed approximately 115 million USD through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund. In addition to this, there is a further 140 million USD from the World Bank and African Development Bank to support infrastructure financing over the coming three years. Partners also announced increased budget support and contributed to financing for a cash buy-back of the country’s commercial debt.

Liberia is on the move.

As noted by President Johnson Sirleaf: “After decades of economic mismanagement and fourteen years of brutal civil war, Liberia’s nightmare is over. We are committed as a people to build a new Liberia from the ruins of war to a future of hope and promise. We are grateful for the strong support we have received from our international Partners and look forward to their continued and strengthening support into the future.”

Liberia has made great progress and is at a critical juncture in its recovery process.

Liberia has made great strides over the past three years; it has increased school enrollment and rebuilt health services, reestablished basic security; put in place improved systems for good governance and economic management. While much has been achieved, the next three years will be critical. Almost two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line, many young ex-combatants remain unemployed, and the recent food price crisis is exacerbating the risk of a
return to conflict.

“Much progress has been made, but the situation in Liberia remains fragile. Nowhere in the world is the link between our peace-building and peacekeeping efforts more clearly illustrated. Liberia presents a constant reminder that you cannot achieve development without security, and you cannot achieve security without development. And to advance on both fronts Liberia needs the continued
attention and support from its international partners,” said Ellen Margrethe Loj, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General.

Partners provided endorsement of and committed to strengthening their support for the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. In particular, additional financing for restoration of the country’s infrastructure was announced.

“Liberia’s progress has been impressive and the Poverty Reduction Strategy provides a solid basis to rally partner support. The international community must sustain its support over the long term and transition to larger, and more efficient and effective programs,” said Michel Wormser, Director, Strategy and Operations, Africa Region, World Bank.

Partners committed to continue to support Liberia’s reconstruction as it moves from an emergency post-conflict phase to rapid, inclusive, and sustainable development. This includes support for a broad range of priorities such as economic revitalization, governance reform, and basic service delivery. The African Development Bank and World Bank made commitments of 26 million USD
in budget support over the next three years. Importantly, partners also committed an additional 73 million euro (115 million USD) to a coordinated fund supporting infrastructure reconstruction. There will also be 140 million USD from the World Bank and African Development Bank to support infrastructure financing over the coming three years.

German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul stressed, “Let us work together to help make Liberia a country of hopes fulfilled and an outstanding example that peace makes the difference. We are all responsible and will contribute.”

SOURCE : The World Bank


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