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September 19, 2010

African Development Bank signs Liberia agricultural recovery grant

by Edwin Fayia, III

Following an extensive discussion with senior Government officials in late August, visiting African Development Bank (ADB) vice president Dr. Kamal El Kheshen and party signed a US$18.24 million grant for the agriculture sector of Southeastern Liberia. The signing was done in Monrovia.

This agriculture grant, according to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) officials and ADB executives, is intended to support the 'Agriculture Sector Rehabilitation Project' (ASRP) in Southeastern Liberia.

Speaking after the signing ceremony held at the MOF, the ADB vice president said: “This constitutes 78 percent of the total cost of the program which is co-financed with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Liberian Government.”

Dr. Kheshen also extolled the excellent relations between the Bank and government owing to sound economic policies and progress made across the country. He added: “This was the first operation which the Bank provided to post-conflict development efforts, directed at Liberia's agriculture sector.”

The ADB top official noted that about 9,600 rural households are expected to directly benefit from the program. “The key benefits,” Dr. Kheshen intimated, “include 100 kilometers of feeder road, improved water management infrastructure for 1,600 hectares, 16 multifunctional facilities within the four-project counties in the Southeast of the country.”

In addition to rehabilitated office premises and agricultural extension delivery capacity, “the project compliments other ongoing projects and its design fully recognizes and responds to gender, environment and climate change issues,”  Kheshen indicated.

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