EU Draws Curtain on Funding Road In Liberia

By Mark N. Mengonfia mmenginfia@gmail.com

MONROVIA-The European Union (EU) is ending its spending on roads to Liberia and is now directing its efforts to support farmers, forest, and good governance.

Over the years, the EU has been one of the major road funders to Liberia and has helped to link many roads of the country.

The EU co-founded the construction of the Sanniquellie road corridor, linking the north-eastern part of Liberia with Côte d’Ivoire with a total EU contribution of €20.2 million.

Apart from Roads, the EU has tremendously aided Liberia in the areas of humanitarian, development aid and debt relief.

Data available shows that in the area of humanitarian aid, between the years 2008-2012, the European Union has spent a total of €75 million (US$ 100 million) and in development aid & debt relief more than €1.37 billion (about US$1.8 billion) has also been spent between  2008-201.

The EU has helped the country in different ways, but they are now directing their efforts to another area after spending huge amounts on roads and other needs of the country.

Speaking at a press conference, EU Head of Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahouse, said they will in the future reintroduce working on roads.

He called on the Government of Liberian to maintain those roads they have helped to construct over the years.

He said the Government of Liberia needs to source other means of funding like the National Road fund or make use of building a toll system that will source funding for the maintenance of the roads of Liberia that were built with donors funding.

The EU head of delegation made it clear that he has already had the discussion of the end of their road spending in Liberia for now.

The EU head to Liberia said they are now directing their efforts to agriculture, the forestry sector which is expected to carry about 20% of their spending and governance, gender, and corruption.

“Liberia is a treasure for the world” but was quick to add that the country should do the needful by ensuring that they stop deforestation, if they are to maintain being a treasure.

As part of their efforts, they will work with farmers, train them in farming outside of the forest by providing an optional means of farming.

At a point during the conference, the EU head of delegation nearly got emotional when he was referencing the Feb. 2021 Trade fair which showcased foods produced in Liberia.

He said it was sad that he will buy imported foods when Liberians have what it takes to have those goods produced in Liberia.

“It is crazy for Liberians to import tomatoes and other produce when the land is available”, he said it in a bit of loud tone.

According to him, they will help farmers produce their staple (rice) and other commodities.

The EU Head of the delegation stressed that Liberia has good soil and has one of the best remaining forests in the world that needs to be preserved.

With these new efforts of the EU, it is expected that more of Liberian commodities will be frequently seen on the market, and means of preservation being in sight, but the sticky point is that most of those farms-to-market-roads in those villages are not connected to enable produce brought to the markets.

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