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West African Monetary Zone Gets USD 7.8 Million Grant

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Tunis, 9 November 2010 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the  concessional window of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, approved on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 in Tunis, a USD 7.8-million (UA 5 million) grant to the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), to cover the additional cost arising from the extension of the institute’s project to Liberia.  

The operation is expected to improve the basic financial sector infrastructure, including the payment system in the four participating RMCs (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Guinea). The project will help in the realization of a full economic and monetary union in the WAMZ countries and foster a conducive environment for private sector-led growth.  

The AfDB Sector Operations Vice President, Kamal El-Kheshen, signed the grant agreement with WAMI Director, Temitope Oshikoya, in the presence of the AfDB Executive Director for the beneficiary countries, El-Fatih Mohamed Khalid.

Mr El-Kheshen expressed the hope that “WAMI will work intensively with the beneficiaries to achieve the objectives of the project and thereby increase private investment through improved efficiency of financial intermediation”.

Liberia was not ready to participate in the Multinational Public Good Project when it was designed and approved in 2008, owing to pre-occupations with post-conflict rehabilitation. In February 2010, Liberia became a member of WAMZ and is now ready to integrate its payment system with the RMCs covered by the ongoing project.

The Bank will continue to support regional financial integration efforts and the region’s strategic objectives by creating an enabling environment for financial system stability through the development of payments system infrastructure and telecommunication networks. The AfDB Governance Department Director, Gabriel Negatu, noted that “The implementation of the ongoing project is on-track and informed the Board that this project forms part of the increased emphasis the Bank is placing on improving the Business Enabling Environment agenda”.

The operation enjoys the strong support of the IMF which is providing a consultant to the Central Bank of Liberia to assist with its successful implementation.

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