As Liberia seeks to overcome the effects of global crises such as the Ukraine war and COVID-19, the Government of Liberia, with support from UNDP and other development partners, is developing an Accelerated Community Development Programme (ACDP) to help reduce poverty and inequalities in rural areas and keep the country on track to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The programme will provide short and long-terms jobs by involving local communities to develop and/or maintain key social and economic infrastructure such as rural feeder roads, boreholes and wells, markets, off-grid electricity, and health centers.
Technicians from various Government ministries, agencies and commissions are meeting in Lower Margibi over the next two days to prioritize interventions to be implemented in sectors including health, education, agriculture and food security, energy, infrastructure, and markets in order to spur in order to spur rural development.
Deputy Finance and Development Minister Tanneh Brunson says the ACDP model is ideal to deliver basic social services to vulnerable local communities and population to reduce disparities and inequalities.
“This flagship programme also provides an opportunity to build synergies, promote inclusion and, ownership and to fast track sustainable and eco-friendly development,” Deputy Minister Brunson emphasized.
About half (50.9%) of the people in Liberia live in poverty, the situation being aggravated in rural areas (71.6%) compared to urban areas (31.5%). Food insecurity is also precarious, with about half of the people in rural areas (50.9%) being uncertain about their next meal compared to 28.1% in urban areas. While electrification is generally low in Liberia, the situation in rural areas is dire, only 3% of the people being connected to electricity.
“The challenges that people, especially those in rural areas, face in accessing basic social infrastructure and services are well known. There is need for urgent interventions to address these challenges and improve the lives of the poor. This is what the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development envisions, and the Accelerated Community Development Programme will help the Government deliver these basic needs to its citizens, and ensure that no one in Liberia is left behind,” said Stephen Rodriques, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Liberia.
The Ambassador of Sweden to Liberia H.E. Urban Sjöström, noted that the ACDP model has enormous potential to bring efforts from various partners together with a focus on women and youth as theagents of change.
Ambassador Sjöström, highlighted inclusion, transparency, accountability and sustainability as key drivers in the implementation/roll out of the program.
The Accelerated Community Development Programme (ACDP) is modelled after programmes that have been used to accelerate both urban and rural development in various African countries. It represents a new approach that was successfully tried and tested in Senegal, the Gambia, and Togo, and is now also being replicated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The approach has been shown to reduce poverty and inequality, and improve sustainable human development in rural areas. It has boosted rural economies by improving social and economic infrastructure such as water and sanitation facilities, solar energy, health centres, schools and road networks to connect farmers to markets. The programme has also generated short- and long-term jobs, and stimulated economic activity, including boosting agricultural production.
In Liberia, the programme is envisioned to increase investment in rural areas and reduce the stark inequalities that exist between the country’s urban and rural areas.