World Bank Outgoing Country Director Honored for Valuable Contribution to Liberia’s Growth and Development

--Director Laporte Says with Support from the Bank, Liberia Has Made Progress

World Bank outgoing Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr. Pierre Frank Laporte, has been outlining progress made by Liberia during his tenure with support of the World Bank. He pointed out that macroeconomic stability improved significantly to the extent that Liberia was able to cope with the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic with much more resilience than most countries in the region. According to Bank’s outgoing Country Director Pierre, “we also saw the drop in inflation from double to single digits, and the exchange rate observed a notable strengthening.” Important macro-fiscal as well as structural reforms were realized in recent years, which the World Bank supported through a series of budget operations ranging from US$20 million to US$65 million annually, he emphasized. These reforms, according to Mr. Laporte, were at times painful, courageous but imperative. He commended the Government’s courage in implementing such difficult but key reforms, which have been critical in maintaining economic stability.

Country Director Laporte thanked his Excellency President George M. Weah, for the excellent support that he has given to the World Bank and to him as Country Director, these past four and a half years.  “I know how much his Excellency President Weah appreciates and values that collaboration that we have experienced over that time. Today’s event is a manifestation of this strong partnership that the World Bank and Liberia enjoy.

The World Bank executive made these remarks during a farewell reception tendered in his honor by the Government of Liberia at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Monrovia on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. The reception was attended by Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia J. Aloysius Tarlue, ministers of Health, Agriculture, including the Chief Executive Officer of Liberia Electricity Corporation, Monie Captan and other senior officials of the Liberian Government who praised the World Bank for its valuable contribution to the development of Liberia.

Please see below full text of Mr. Laporte’s remarks:

Remarks by Outgoing World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Pierre Laporte

At Farewell Reception Held by the Liberian Government

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex, Tubman Boulevard, MonroviaTuesday, December 5, 2023, at 6:00pm

Honorable Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Samuel Tweah;

Honorable Ministers;

Officials of the Liberian Government;

Development Partners;

Colleagues from the World Bank;

Distinguished Guests;

Representatives of the Media;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good evening.

I want to begin by thanking you all for your presence here this evening, for this farewell reception organized in my honor by the Government of Liberia. I would like to thank in particular, his Excellency President George M. Weah, for the excellent support that he has given to the World Bank and to myself as Country Director, these past four and a half years.  I know how much his Excellency President Weah appreciates and values that collaboration that we have experienced over that time. Today’s event is a manifestation of this strong partnership that the World Bank and Liberia enjoy.

Liberia’s relationship with the World Bank dates back to 1944 when the country participated in the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire, United States of America, which brought together 44 nations. This conference led to the drawing up and adoption of the Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development – IBRD (World Bank) and International Monetary Fund.

Consequently, Liberia signed the Articles of Agreement of IBRD, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and International Development Association (IDA) in March 28, 1962, thus becoming the 75th member of the World Bank. This is a true testimony of the firm relationship we enjoy today.

I am pleased and proud that during my tenure as Country Director for Liberia, and with the support of my institution, the country experienced progress in a number of areas. For instance, macroeconomic stability improved significantly to the extent that Liberia was able to cope with the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic with much more resilience than most countries in the region. We also saw the drop in inflation from double to single digits, and the exchange rate observed a notable strengthening. Important macro-fiscal as well as structural reforms were realized in recent years, which the World Bank supported through a series of budget operations ranging from US$20 million to US$65 million annually. These reforms were at times painful, courageous but imperative. We commend the Government’s courage in implementing such difficult but key reforms, which have been critical in maintaining economic stability.

During my tenure, we were also able to deliver on a number of important projects, whose implementation continue, and will continue even after I would have left. I am sure that Liberians are beginning to reap the dividends of these important investments as observed by the larger number of Liberians benefiting from the projects in a range of sectors including energy, fisheries, agriculture, transport, health, education, urban, governance (transparency and accountability), and other sectors of development. Kudos to our strong World Bank team on the ground led by Country Managers Khwima Nthara who left earlier this year and Georgia Wallen who now hold the fort and is already continuing the good work.

Our cordial working relationship with the Government of Liberia and other development partners have also been critical and have largely contributed to the achievements we made for Liberia and its people. One notable achievement for Liberia during my tenure was when the country graduated from the classification of a fragile, conflict and violence (FCV) state in 2022. Liberia must sustain these gains to remain on the pedestal of growth and prosperity. And for this good governance, transparency, and respect for the rule of law must continue to prevail.

The peaceful conduct of the Liberia’s 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections shows that Liberians are on an irreversible path of development and prosperity. On that note, I would like to congratulate Liberia and the Liberian people for the exemplary orderly and peaceful conduct of the recent elections. The World Bank congratulates President Weah for his exemplary Leadership and honorable and dignified acceptance of the results which has ensured an orderly transition of power.

As I leave for a new assignment at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, I remain confident that Liberia will continue to distinguish itself amongst nations of the world as a peaceful and democratic country which all Liberians should be proud of.  I am leaving with fond memories of this beautiful country with lots of untapped resources, including a long stretch of the Atlantic coastal belt, a great potential for tourism.

I cannot end without saying a special word of appreciation to Honorable Samuel Tweah, Minister of Finance and Development Planning.  Minister Tweah has not only been an excellent counterpart, but I will remember him as a pragmatic, bold and visionary Finance Minister, not hesitating to put his country first with difficult reforms and decisions, when others would have shielded away. God bless you Minister, my brother.

I also cannot end without recognizing and thanking my great World Bank team, those already gone to other pastures and those present her tonight alike.  Everything I achieved in Liberia has been with you and because of you. Thank you for your invaluable support.

Thank you Liberia for the great time spent and I will always have a special place at heart for this beautiful country and its friendly people.

May God Bless you all

May God Bless Liberia and its people!!

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