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Speeches & Transcripts

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim's remarks in a Press Conference with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

December 2, 2014

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim Press Conference Monrovia, Liberia

As Prepared for Delivery

I would like to congratulate the Liberian Government for their leadership in handling the emergency response to Ebola. I encourage President Johnson Sirleaf to continue working with Liberia's neighbors to strengthen the regional response and promote greater regional integration.

In our meeting today, we discussed the importance of finishing the job on Ebola and beginning to work on economic recovery. The World Bank Group is committed to help the Liberian authorities in the coming 18 months in the following five areas:

First, the World Bank Group - which has already provided $200 million dollars to Liberia for the Ebola crisis - will continue to support President Johnson Sirleaf's ambitious  plan to get to zero cases as soon as possible.   This involves making sure that every community is protected from Ebola and that all Liberians have access to the health care they deserve.

But we don't need to wait till we get to zero to start working on the economic recovery, so our second area of support is agriculture.   Agriculture is a key pillar of the Liberian economy and we are concerned that agricultural production has dropped as a result of the Ebola epidemic. We will help Liberian farmers recover from this crisis. We must make sure that the Ebola epidemic is not followed by a food security crisis.

Third, we will help improve selected infrastructure that are critical for economic competitiveness - such as urban infrastructure, access to electricity and the construction of roads and bridges that connect farmers to markets. We need to help Liberians create jobs to help people recover from income losses as a result of the economic slowdown caused by the epidemic. The epidemic has stalled some of our existing infrastructure projects. We are working to bring the private sector back. Today in Accra, we are organizing a round table on this issue with private companies working in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Fourth, we will continue to work through IFC to provide liquidity to local banks to support Small and Medium-Size Enterprises and local entrepreneurs and farmers. Today, IFC's executive Vice President Jin-Yong Cai will sign a $7.5 million dollar loan to EcoBank.

Fifth we will help the government manage the consequences of the epidemics on the public accounts. We are working closely with the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank and we are preparing several tranches of budget support.