World Bank Supports Expansion of Affordable Electricity and Improved Health Services in Liberia
WASHINGTON, May 30, 2013 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved two International Development Association (IDA)* credits totaling US$45 million to support the Government of Liberia’s new strategy to expand electricity coverage by 2030, as well as improve maternal health, child health and infectious disease services in Liberia.
World Bank Liberia Country Manager Inguna Dobraja said, “Both projects are crucial towards supporting the Liberian Government’s Agenda for Transformation and addressing the country’s medium-term development priorities.” Ms. Dobraja added that: “The Bank will continue to support the Government’s transformational development agenda in pursuing sustainable and inclusive economic growth that will benefit all Liberians.”
The first US$35 million credit will support the Accelerated Electricity Expansion Project, designed to focus on the three most pressing issues for the implementation of the government’s plans to expand electricity services in Liberia by 2030. It will support the extension of the transmission and distribution grid providing access to electricity to about 10,300 new users located not only in Monrovia but also outside of the capital. It will also facilitate the transport and storage of heavy fuel oil to provide more cost-effective additional supply of electricity, and better planning of the development of the electricity sector in Liberia.
“The project supports the government’s efforts to expand electricity services and make them more affordable to businesses and households in order to spur economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction, said Clemencia Torres de Mästle, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “Greater access to electricity will significantly improve people’s living conditions, including improved education and health services.”
The World Bank’s Board also approved a US$10 million IDA credit and a complementary US$5 million grant from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund (HRITF) to improve the quality of health services at seven selected hospitals, serving well over a million people. While Liberia has significantly reduced mortality among mothers and young children in recent years, serious threats to life remain, including weak quality of care in areas such as obstetric services and malaria diagnosis and treatment.
The Liberia Health Systems Strengthening project will help improve the quality of maternal and child health care at the selected hospitals using a results-based approach that has worked well in other countries such as Rwanda and Burundi. It will help ensure that poor people have greater access to qualified specialist physicians and skilled health workers who can provide lifesaving obstetric, pediatric and surgical care and greatly improved infectious disease services.
“This project will help to quickly tackle some of the most difficult problems faced by hospitals that are recovering after extraordinary wartime damage to the entire national health system," said Rianna L. Mohammed-Roberts, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “New measures will include performance-based incentives for hospitals, support to a Graduate Medical Residency Program to help address the critical shortage of qualified specialists, and in-service training for mid-level staff. This is expected to deliver rapid results for women and children, while putting in place a stronger system that will last beyond the life of the project."
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.