The Government of Liberia, represented by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning signed the Loan and grant Agreements totaling USD 41.58 Million for the Mano River Union Road Programme, representing the Second Phase of the Mano River Union Road Development and Transport Facilitation Programme, which would improve roads in Liberia and facilitate transport between Liberia and its MRU neighbors.
This second phase consolidates road rehabilitation efforts so far and will boost economic recovery in the two countries. It will provide for the asphalting of 67.1 km of road between Fish Town and Kelipo (20 km) and between Sanniquellie and Loquatuo (47.1 km), and the construction of two markets, water facilities and latrines along the same roads.
The construction of a joint control post and a bridge linking Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia is also planned, which would reduce transport costs, ease the free movement of people and goods, promote regional trade and overall improve the living standards of about 790,000 people.
Another expected positive outcome will be 800 new jobs over the next 2-3 years for 100 traders – 60 of them women – who will also receive training in bookkeeping. The programme will also increase job prospects for ten young graduate technicians and engineers employed in training sites related to the programme.
With a total estimated cost of US $87.87 million, over 48% of the total cost of this second phase is covered by the African Development Bank. The balance is covered by an EU grant of Euro 20.2 million and a potential loan from the EIB. The programme will be implemented from January 2019 to December 2022, and the project roads are expected to be in use in 2021.
The first phase of the road programme, estimated at US$108.4 million for Liberia obtained financing in December 2014. Under this phase, 96 km of roads are being upgraded from gravel to asphaltic concrete between River Gee and Maryland Counties. In addition, two joint control posts and a cross-border bridge on the Cavalla River are being constructed.
This programme will help open up the Southeast and western part of Liberia, which will assist in the delivery of Government services such as Health and Education. It will also open up market access to tourist areas in the Cote d’Ivoire, thereby improving incomes for people in that part of the sub-region.