WASHINGTON, March 17, 2020 – The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved a $40 million International Development Association (IDA)* project for Liberia to support a series of pro-poor reforms. This is the first operation in a series of three Development Policy Operations to support the Government of Liberia in achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth by strengthening public-sector transparency and promoting economic and social inclusion.
“This budget support should help alleviate the country’s fiscal challenges, which are likely to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia. “At the same time, the reforms supported by this operation will help spur inclusive growth and enhance the resilience of the most vulnerable people in Liberia,” he added.
The operation focuses on boosting productivity and economic diversification by reforming agricultural input markets, expanding access to electricity and building resilience of the agriculture and energy sectors. It also supports reforms for improving financial viability of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), reducing trade costs, streamlining tax waivers, strengthening oversight of state-owned enterprises, and improving debt management and transparency. In addition, the program will promote economic and social inclusion by facilitating access to digital financial services and building a national social safety net system, with a special focus on women and girls.
“Achieving inclusive growth will require macroeconomic stability, a thriving private sector and a transparent and efficient public sector,” said Marina Bakanova, World Bank Senior Economist and Task Team Leader of the IGDPO program. “The current operation supports reforms that will catalyze economic transformation and job creation through improvements in productivity and competitiveness, especially in the agricultural sector and help create an accountable public sector to promote shared prosperity and sustainable development,” she added.
The funding comes in the form of a concessional IDA credit of $20 million and an IDA grant of $20 million.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.