AfDB Board Approves Liberia Country Strategy Paper 2013-2017
The African Development Bank Board of Directors on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Tunis approved a five-year Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Liberia covering the period 2013-2017. The paper tails the Joint Assistance Strategy (prepared jointly with the World Bank) for 2008-2012; and will support the Government’s Agenda for Transformation (AfT), which is linked to the country’s long-term vision to become an inclusive middle income country by 2030.
In approving the paper, the Board took into consideration the fact that Liberia continues to face huge infrastructure bottlenecks that prohibit inclusive development and economic diversification, which include extremely limited and expensive access to energy, as well as poor and dilapidated road network. Strengthening of Liberia’s institutional capacity is necessary to implement the Government’s significant investment plans and to efficiently and transparently manage increased revenues in line with its development strategies.
The strategy is guided by two pillars:
- Promoting inclusive economic growth through transformative infrastructure investments. This pillar will tackle the country’s key constraints to growth by focusing on energy and road infrastructure, to promote a competitive private sector, increased agricultural production and market access, employment creation across age and gender, and improved welfare and public service delivery. Emphasis will be placed on reducing exclusion, increasing regional and national integration, and promoting green and climate resilient investments.
- Enhancing governance and the efficient management of resources. In view of Liberia’s fragility, this pillar will promote sustainable economic governance. Through budget support reforms and institutional support, it will improve the policies and capacity of the Government, private sector, and civil society to manage resources effectively and transparently in line with the AfT, maintain macroeconomic stability, and increase internal and external scrutiny and accountability. It will also improve the business environment and decrease barriers to regional and international trade.
According to the CSP, the indicative work program will cover three African Development Fund (ADF) cycles: the last year of ADF-12 (2013), ADF-13 (2014-2016), and the first year of ADF-14 (2017).
However, considering the uncertainty of funding levels for ADF-13, including the extent to which the Fragile State Facility (FSF) Pillar I top-up funds will be available, three funding scenarios – UA 50 million (US $75.20 million), UA 70 million (US $105.28 million), and UA 90 million (US $135.36 million) – have been proposed.
The 2013-2017 strategy emphasizes greater selectivity of Bank’s interventions aimed at consolidating its operations and responding to the Government’s priorities. The Bank has a strong presence in the governance sector (budget and institutional support), where challenges remain despite significant accomplishments. The proposed upgrading of the rehabilitated Fish Town-Harper Road will consolidate the Bank’s previous investments in a region where other donors do not have a strong presence. Energy is the Government’s top priority, and the Bank has been involved in this sector with the preparation of the West African Power Pool’s Côte d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea Interconnection project.
The Bank’s proposed interventions in the energy and transportation sectors are also integrated into the Mano River Union Initiative, which the Liberian Government is playing a key role in promoting for the Bank.
Discussing the important role the Liberia Field Office will play in the implementation of the CSP, the Resident Representative Margaret Kilo, said that capacity building will form a major component of every Bank Group intervention with a view to ensuring sustainability of investments, especially maintenance of the country’s economic and social infrastructure.
According to Kilo, in implementing the proposed strategy the AfDB plans to deepen dialogue with the Government, as well as increase aid coordination to ensure greater leveraging of the Bank’s limited resources through co-financing with other development partners.