European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and the Liberia Minister of Finance & Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah, signed a new financing agreement today in Brussels in the presence of the President of the Republic, George Manneh Weah. The goal is to strengthen state building, improve public investment and support the delivery of basic services in the country.
Commissioner Mimica said: "A few months after the peaceful transition of power in Liberia, the European Commission is glad to announce this €27 million programme. It will support the new Government in securing public investment to provide basic services, with the overall aim of eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, and improving democratic and economic governance."
This budget support action for Liberia, entitled "Moving Liberia forward" (2018-2020) is a follow-up to a previous one worth €65 million (2015-2017). It goes hand in hand with policy dialogue and continuous engagement with the authorities. Specific actions include, for instance, further promotion of improvements in the business environment, increased domestic revenue collection or the fight against corruption. In addition, gender equality will be mainstreamed in programme outcomes.
The EU's support is focused on supporting the democratic and peaceful consolidation of the Liberian state and the delivery of basic social services and infrastructure to the population. It shifted direction in 2008, in order to build on immediate post-war support that focused mainly on reconstruction and rehabilitation. The current EU development programme for 2014-2020, worth €279 million, is aligned with key priorities of the new government's "Pro-poor Agenda".
EU interventions follow a two-track strategy. Firstly, they focus on strengthening (re)building essential public services – such as electricity, education (including technical and vocational education and training) and governance (including public finance management, land rights and decentralisation) – as a necessary condition for improving business climate and attracting investment. Secondly, additional interventions aim at harnessing the potential of a limited number of value chains to promote inclusive growth and job creation.
During the last decade, Liberia has transitioned from a state of civil war to become a democracy with an accountable government. However, the country remains highly fragile and faces many challenges. In economic terms, the slow recovery from the impact of the Ebola outbreak combined with the drop in international export prices for iron ore and rubber (Liberia’s traditional engines of growth) as well as the withdrawal of the United Nations peacekeeping mission caused a sharp GDP decline. In the political sphere, the country has recently passed an important milestone in its post-conflict history with the peaceful and democratic transfer of power from one party to another through presidential elections at the end of 2017.
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