The World Bank and the Government of Liberia have signed a $24.67 million grant agreement for the Fourth Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Operation (PRSDPO-IV) for Liberia. This agreement comprises a $20 million grant from the International Development Association* (IDA), and a $4.67 million grant from the Norwegian Liberia Forest Landscape Single Donor Trust Fund.
The agreement was signed by Dr. Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and Hon. Samuel Tweah, Minister of Finance and Development Planning.
The PRSDPO-IV is the last of a programmatic series of Development Policy Operations to support the implementation of the government’s medium-term poverty reduction strategy under the Agenda for Transformation and its long-term vision plan elaborated in the Liberia Rising 2030. The objectives of PRSDPO-IV include: improving governance, transparency and accountability; addressing infrastructure constraints to broad-based growth, in particular electricity; and promoting equality of opportunity in access to health and education while paying attention to gender disparities.
“The World Bank has been an active partner in supporting Liberia through the severe shocks in the aftermath of the Ebola Virus Disease, and the subsequent slump in commodity prices. The completed PRSDPO series has helped to mitigate the poverty and fiscal impact of the twin shocks and support reforms, aimed at building resilience to future shocks,” said Kerali.
PRSDPO-IV supported policy actions under three broad pillars. The first pillar on Governance and Civil Service Reform includes actions focused on improving transparency and accountability; civil service pay reform; customs and tax administration; public financial management focused on accountability and oversight; and procurement. Under the second pillar of Economic Transformation, the reform actions focused on improving operation and management of the electricity sector and land administration. The reform actions under the third pillar of Human Capital Development focused on fostering efficiency in the use of domestic and external resources for the health sector.
“Given Liberia’s limited fiscal space, multiple urgent policy priorities, and persistently large current-account deficits and rising debt, restoring fiscal sustainability is pivotal to inclusive growth. This requires increased revenue collection from natural resources and agricultural concessions; systemic improvements in expenditure efficiency, including the use of external aid; a prudent debt-management policy; and decisive move in structural reforms to unlock binding constraints to growth and creation of jobs,” said Marina Bakanova and Daniel Boakye, World Bank Co-Task Team Leaders of the Operation.
PRSDPO-IV is fully consistent with the strategic goals of the World Bank Group to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA)<http://www.worldbank.org/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 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.