The Liberian Government and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed an agreement worth US$27.3 million to urgently upgrade the runway and address safety at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
The 20-year loan for RIA was formally agreed on the sidelines of the World Bank/ IMF meetings in Washington at a ceremony attended by Minister Konneh and Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Mills Jones.
The occasion also allowed detailed discussion of issues of pressing concern in Liberia, the government’s economic recovery plan and EIB engagement in West Africa, according to an EU release issued in Monrovia Monday.
In remarks, Minister Konneh said: “The European Investment Bank has always been a true partner to the people of Liberia. The airport rehabilitation project is another clear manifestation of that partnership.”
“The European Investment Bank stands side by side with Liberia at this time of need. We will continue our engagement with Liberian officials, partner institutions and European Union Delegations in the region and will ensure that any support we can provide will be of best use.
“Upgrading Monrovia’s airport is essential for Liberia and we are pleased to share the experience from similar projects elsewhere in Africa,” said Pim van Ballekom, EIB Vice President.
This is the first EIB operation with the Liberian Airports Authority and follows recent support for improving electricity generation in Liberia through backing for rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant.
The runway work will also include improvements to runway drainage and runway lighting and when complete will allow RIA to comply with international civil aviation standards.
The project is being co-financed with the Saudi Fund for Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa.
The EIB has experience supporting airport investment around the world and has provided 12.5 billion Euros for new airports and airport upgrading in the last decade.
This has included runway improvements in Maputo, upgrading regional airports in Tanzania, air traffic control in Madagascar and West Africa, as well as Heathrow Terminal 5, Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt and Paris airports.