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World Bank Boosts Liberia's Financial Management System

December 15, 2011

Support to Reduce Poverty by Strengthening Fiscal Discipline, Improve Revenue Collection, Build Capacity and Enhance Public Financial Reform Agenda

Washington, December 15, 2011 - The Government of Liberia has received a US$5 million credit from the World Bank to improve budget coverage, fiscal policy management, financial control, and oversight of government’s finances. This Integrated Public Financial Management (PFM) Reform Project will assist the Liberian Government expand and deepen the scope of reforms in support of reduced corruption and improved service delivery, particularly to vulnerable groups, thereby reducing poverty. 
This approval was made on Thursday, 15 December by the World Bank Executive Board of Directors. This International Development Association (IDA) credit covers the following thematic components of the PFM: Enhancing Budget Planning Systems, Coverage and Credibility - US$322,000; Strengthening PFM Legal Framework - US$1,796,000; Revenue Mobilization and Administration - US$942,000; Enhancing Transparency and Accountability - US$1,092,000; and Program Governance and Project Management - US$848,000.
“Over the past four years, we have been supporting the Government of Liberia in setting up systems and control measures for improved integrity in the public sector, with the aim of ensuring value for money,”  Dr. Ohene Owusu Nyanin, Country Manager for Liberia, said. He added that: “We are happy that this effort is yielding another financial boost for a reform system to improve the management of public affairs which is consistent with our broader agenda in improving governance.”
Under the PFM, the World Bank is lending $5m out of the overall $28.55m project cost. The project will be jointly co-financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in the equivalent amount of US$15.10 million; the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - US$3.85 million; and the African Development Bank (AfDB) - US$4.6 million. Sida and USAID financing will be channeled through a World Bank-administered Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), and the AfBD will pool its contributions with IDA and the MDTF. The commitment of the development partners to maximize overall project outcome and impact, while strengthening donor harmonization, is therefore a salient feature of this project. The preparation of the project was jointly carried out by all the four donors.
Acting Country Director Sergiy Kulyk said: “this project benefited from a well coordinated and harmonized donor support arrangement and responds to the Government of Liberia-led reform agenda embedded in the Government’s PFM Reform Strategy.”  He added that the expected outcomes of the project measured to enhance accountability and transparency in Liberia, “will have far reaching positive impact on the overall economic governance framework in the country.”  
The Task Team Leader, Ismaila Ceesay, echoed similar sentiments and underlined that “with a strengthened partnership between the donor partners and the Government during the implementation phase of the project, and coupled with the unreserved commitment of the Government to implementing the reforms that the project aims to support, Liberia’s PFM performance can reach higher heights in the coming years.”
The project is consistent with, and aligned to: (i) the economic revitalization pillar of Liberia’s current Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and the vision enshrined in “Liberia Rising 2030” (a precursor to the next Liberia Poverty Reduction Strategy), (ii) the government-led Public Finance Management Reform Strategy, approved in July 2011, intended to promote good economic governance through the deepening of public financial management reforms; and (iii) the Liberia World Bank Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) which is also aligned to the Poverty Reduction Strategy. The project is also anchored in the World Bank’s governance and anti-corruption agenda that forms the foundation for the Renewed World Bank Strategy for Africa.
About the International Development Association:

The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. Established in 1960, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing interest-free credits and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. It is the single largest source of donor funds for basic social services in the poorest countries. IDA lends money (known as credits) on concessional terms. IDA credits have zero or very low interest charges, and repayments are stretched over 25 to 40 years, including a 5 to 10-year grace period. IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress.

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