The President of the Republic of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, has called for additional support from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank to increase its intervention to countries largely impacted by Covid-19.
The President asserted that such increased support would ensure that the gains realized as a result of the World Bank Group’s support through the International Development Association are not wiped out by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to enable affected nations meet urgent development needs now and in the future.
Addressing the World Bank Meeting on IDA 20 Replenishment(virtual) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Wednesday, July 15, 2021, the President shared significant light on the impact Covid-19 is having on Liberia, most particularly the economy and the population. He also accentuated the critical interventions that multilateral and bilateral institutions have made to buttress the country’s anti-Covid-19 fight.
Dr. Weah told the Meeting that an early IDA 20 replenishment would be critical, not only to address shortfalls and setbacks created by the global pandemic, but also to provide investment programs that will lay the foundations for sustainable recovery and a smooth transition to growth and development over the next few years.
“As we look up to the generosity of the major shareholders and donors for a significant IDA 20 replenishment, we would like to commit to doing our part by not only increasing domestic resource mobilization, but also to redouble our efforts on the fight against corruption, to ensure that resources are not wasted,” he noted.
He said Covid-19 has not only been having devastating impact on health systems, but has also caused serious devastation on the Liberian economy, contracting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 3% in 2020.
President Weah disclosed that huge financial support from the International Development Association (IDA), through the World Bank Group, has been invaluable in assisting the country cope with the global pandemic.
The Liberian President noted further: “It has been the largest single source of financing to our COVID-19 response. In 2020, this emergency support enabled us to provide ambulances, ventilators, and diagnostic laboratory equipment for our health care system.”
He acknowledged additional financing in the amount of $8 million has been approved for Liberia to finance the acquisition of much-needed COVID-19 vaccines.
President Weah expressed gratitude to the World Bank Group and other international partners for the additional support being organized to assist Liberia mitigate the impact of the pandemic on citizens.
The Liberian Chief Executive disclosed that under the auspices of the World Bank and in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, Liberia has received financial support for a nation-wide household food distribution program.
“More recently, another financing package has been approved to provide grant support to vulnerable households, to enable them to start or revive small businesses, as well as provide temporary employment support to vulnerable individuals,” the Liberian Leader reported.
Though he said Liberia is grateful for the support provided so far, he however made it clear that the country’s needs remain critical.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out a significant proportion of the gains registered after we recovered from the recent Ebola outbreak,” the Liberian Leader said. “Moreover, Liberia, like many other countries, is currently battling a new wave of COVID-19, with new variants that are more deadly and infectious than ever before.”
He said though, “we have not yet decided to go into another hard lockdown, many essential economic activities are still adversely affected.”
President Weah said Liberia will still be counting on the support of the World Bank Group to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the health sector as well as on the economy as a whole.
“We believe other member countries are in a similar situation, in spite of the fact that disbursements under IDA-19 were accelerated to address the new and unique challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he stressed.