WASHINGTON, December 22, 2023 – The World Bank Board has approved a Second Additional Financing for the Rural Economic Transformation Project (RETRAP-AF II). This financing is funded by an International Development Association (IDA)* credit of US$76 million from its Scale-Up Window (SUW) and $9 million grant from the KfW Development Bank through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF). It will scale-up work on establishing basic road connectivity, which is vital to food production, livelihoods strengthening, social inclusion, resilience building, and the overall competitiveness of Liberia’s economy.
“Road infrastructure development is critical to unlocking economic growth. This RETRAP AF-II will assist in the transformation of the agricultural sector, providing farmers with access to markets and financially empowering them to participate in national development,” said Georgia Wallen, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia.
The RETRAP-AF II targets an estimated 900,000 farmers and users of road transport services, mainly rural households and communities who will benefit from access to an all-weather road. Improved road conditions along the additional 85 km of the corridor will also directly benefit transport service providers through reduced vehicle operating costs and travel times and increased demand for their services and access to new markets. Those living along the southern section of this road corridor will be connected to the rest of Liberia.
This project will complete the missing link spanning the Côte d’Ivoire Border – Toe Town – Zwedru (85 km), on the Southeastern Road Corridor of Liberia, which is key to provide an economic lifeline for inaccessible rural areas with high and worsening poverty. It will also support economic integration of the region with the rest of Liberia and neighboring countries and foster regional trade with Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea.
“It is noteworthy that this project will improve the enabling environment for agribusiness development in Liberia through capacity building of public agribusiness services to deliver quality services to private investors, including smallholder farmers, enhancing value chain coordination and public-private dialogue, and supporting agricultural research and development and extension,” said Tojoarofenitra Ramanankirahina and Kadir Osman Gyasi, Co-Task Team Leaders for the project.
The 85 km road from Toe-Town to Zwedru and Cote d'Ivoire border under this proposed additional financing will complement the following achievements and on-going activities financed by the World Bank in Liberia: 248 km road corridor improvement from Monrovia to Ganta and the Guinea border; 100 km Southeastern Corridor improvement from Ganta to Saclepea and Tappita; and 40 km Southeastern Corridor improvement from Tappita to Toe-Town (parent project).
The original RETRAP was approved by the World Bank on June 4, 2021, while the first additional financing from the Bank’s Crisis Response Window – Early Response Financing (CRW-ERF) came online on December 22, 2022, to help the Government of Liberia to respond to food, employment, and resilience crisis. The current closing date is of the RETRAP is June 30, 2029.