The Government of Japan through the Japan Corporation Agency (JICA) has officially announced the resumption of the operation of Japan-funded projects in Liberia including the reconstruction of the Somalia Drive in Monrovia, and the project for the rehabilitation of Monrovia Power system which was suspended due to Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
The disclosure was made on Wednesday June 17, 2015 at the ceremony marking the resumption of Japan’s sponsored- projects in Liberia, where JICA informed that a mission of JICA team comprising 9 members of Japanese consultants and JICA staff from Tokyo and Ghana is in Liberia to assess the post Ebola situation for the resumption of the projects.
The two projects are essential to the people of Liberia and would benefit millions of people living in Monrovia and surrounding regions and will have an important role in the country’s recovery efforts especially in post Ebola context.
JICA also disclosed that it has provided approximately 7 million US Dollars as an additional support to Ebola affected countries, and has committed to sending a mission in July comprising health professionals from Japan to support the implementation of the country’s post Ebola recovery plan.
Speaking on behalf of the Liberian Government, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, added, “Today is a great day, for Liberia and Liberians because today we are kicking off a project which will have tremendous impact in the lives of the Liberia people”.
“We in some time 2013, concluded an agreement that would enhance the capacity of the Liberia Electricity Cooperation giving it a boost of 10 megawatts of power to expand to its fullest operation of power supply to residents of Monrovia, the Minister recalled.
He said though the project was interrupted by the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia, the intervention of the international community and the courageous leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as well as the resilience of the Liberian people, the nation was able to conquer Ebola.
It can be recalled that Liberia was declared by WHO as Ebola-free country on May 9, 2015. Minister Ngafuan stressed that Liberia is back and is now playing a play button to commence its recovery program.
While responding to question posed by a journalist on the role of Liberians in the implementation process, and the exact date and time for the project to start, the Minister assured that Liberians will do everything to give maximum support and cooperation to the project urging the citizens to fully cooperate. He also stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working closely with sector ministries and agencies in order to make sure this project is successful.
As a resident of the Somalia Drive, the Foreign Minister said Liberians can now see the reality of the project with the availability of the equipment on the road.
He called on Liberians especially residents of the road to give maximum support to the contractors in order to enhance the smooth operation of the project.
While thanking Japan for the initiative, Minister Ngafuan added that Liberia and Japan have entered into a new phase of their relationship, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will do all in its reach to work with Japan in order to explore new areas of cooperation in the mutual interest of the two countries.
Also making brief remarks at the ceremony, the Chief Representative of JICA, Ghana Office, Mr. Koji Makino congratulated the Government and People of Liberia for their efforts to win the battle against the deadly Ebola virus. He at the same time extended condolences to those who sacrificed and lost their lives during the crisis.
He said from the 15 to the 22 June, a team of Japanese consultants, engineers , general contractor; Japanese plant maker ,and JICA staff from Tokyo and Ghana will be updating information to immediately resume the suspended projects in the earliest possible timing.
“Now Japanese contractors are back on the field, and we will be ready to resume the projects. With continuous support from our counterparts and community members, I believe that these longer term projects will be successfully completed and contribute to the recovery and prosperity of Liberia.
According to him, JICA stands prepared to fully support Liberia’s Economic Stability and Recovery Plan, which aims at stabilizing the economy and getting Liberia on a path to inclusive growth through building resilient health system.
MR. Makino indicated that as part of JICA commitment to post Ebola Liberia, Japan has just allocated approximately 7(seven) million US Dollars – support to Ebola affected countries, and will be sending a medical mission in July, 2015 to support implementation of Liberia’s post Ebola health investment plan.
For his part, the Japanese Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Kaoru Yoshimura said he was very delighted to see the official commencement of JICA’s projects in Liberia after a brief breakdown due to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.
According to him the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia has presented a difficult situation for Liberians and development partners especially in areas of project implementation.
“I am very happy, that Liberians through their resilience have been able to reach zero Ebola case and are implementing Post Ebola Recovery projects that would help the recovery and reconstruction of Liberia, the Japanese Envoy remarked.
“To this end, work has resumed on Japan funded projects such as the Reconstruction of Somalia Drive in Monrovia, and the Rehabilitation of Monrovia Power Systems”, he added.
The Ambassador also indicated that the commencement of JICA projects marks the beginning of more future economic cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Liberia.
He emphasized that the Government of Liberia has demonstrated great commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of Liberians and that Japan will continue to support endeavors of the Government of Liberia to advance its development agenda.
The Japanese envoy then expressed hope that the Government and people of Liberia will accept JICA and its staff as family and accord them a great deal of hospitality granting them the needed support to ensure successful implementation of Japanese cooperation projects.