LIBERIA: Ganta-Yekepa Road: A Dream Realized by ArcelorMittal’s Responsible Leadership
January 28, 2013, Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods announced to the nation the signing of an agreement for the pavement of the Ganta-Yekepa Road.
The Ministry of Public Works and ArcelorMittal Liberia entered into the US$40 million agreement exclusively paid by ArcelorMittal with consent of both parties that the Government of Liberia implements the project.
But this agreement came days after AML herself announced its phase two expansion project with the aim of hitting 15 million tons of ore per year in 2015.
It was because of this expansion that the Sirleaf Administration demanded that ArcelorMittal paves the Ganta-Yekapa Road as a form of benefit for the county.
Even though AML’s expansion was significantly delayed due to the terrible outbreak of Ebola in late 2013, couple with repeated decline in global price of iron due to COVID, the company been a responsible business paid the full amount to the government.
Under the agreement, the MPW was given the right to tender, procure, contact, monitor and supervise the Asphalt pavement project.
Today as the road work reaches the historic Nimba City of Sanniquellie, it is not just affording a shorter time for travel, but it is estimated that the construction work has been able to generate some 2,000 short- to medium- term jobs.
In addition to this, the pavement of the Ganta-Yekepa Road signals four Main Benefits of Pavement for Liberia, especially Nimba county which is known for its commercial viability.
The first benefit from this huge investment is Durability:
Across Liberia, most of our roads in the hinterland are either difficult to use or totally impossible to commute during the rainy season.
But the Asphalt pavement paid for by ArcelorMittal is the most durable pavement materials at the disposal of any road connectivity. This is probably why so many roadways are paved with it. Asphalt’s ability to handle heavy traffic loads without failing makes it the material of choice and convenience. Across the world, asphalt pavement has greatly helped settled busy highways constraints.
The Ganta Yekepa Road Pavement has great economic potential:
It is true that the payment of US$40 cost for the installation of asphalt pavement is higher than other materials payment. But the long-term savings that Liberians will receive is well worth the costs. As we have already learned, the kind materials used for the ongoing pavement between Ganta and Yekepa is one of the most durable materials around the world. The durability of the road will help it last for many years without any major repair costs.
The pavement of the road from the commercial city of Ganta to the mining hub of Yekepa will serve as an incentive by which fast-moving consumer goods that are produced will sell quickly at relatively low cost.
This is so because we have learned that cities or urban settlements cannot survive without an effective urban goods movement system made possible by good, paved roads. The health of the economy of cities like Ganta and Sanniquellie is dependent on its ability to accommodate the movement and delivery of goods.
The Ganta-Yekapa Road Pavement ensures Low maintenance:
When it comes to road maintenance, Liberia is deeply challenged. Asphalt pavement like the one happening in Nimba and other parts of the country is one of the easiest to care for. If properly sealed, asphalt can last for many years without the need for any major repairs. When small potholes do appear, they can be quickly filled in just a few minutes. This will save an already struggling Liberia tons of time and money.
With the Ganta-Yekepa Road, Safety is assured:
Asphalt road pavement is considered safer than other pavement types due to its smooth surface. This surface has anti-skid properties that will help protect drivers and reduce the number of road accidents.
It is worth noting that this is the first time that citizens along the Ganta-Yekepa Road are witnessing a full-scale pavement of the corridor since the founding of the country.
This is especially so because it is entirely funded by ArcelorMittal a private firm that continues to demonstrate firm commitment towards Liberia’s post war development agenda.
Last year, ArcelorMittal who has already employed more than 3000 Liberians renewed its commitment by signing a whooping 1.2 billion third mineral development agreement with the government.
When that MDA is rectified by the Liberian Legislature, ArcelorMittal Liberia will significantly ramp up the production of premium iron ore, generating significant new jobs and wider economic benefits for Liberia.
This third mineral development agreement encompasses processing, rail, and port facilities which is one of the largest mining projects in West Africa with a capital investment of over a billion United States Dollars.