WBG Prez. Urges More Support to Ebola-Affected Nations

first_imgThe President of the World Bank Group (WBG), Jim Yong Kim, has emphasized the need for more support to help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone get to zero new Ebola cases.He said reaching zero new Ebola cases will help the three countries jumpstart their economy recovery and build a safer, more prosperous and resilient future for their citizens.“Many of us have acknowledged that the international community was slow to react to Ebola. Let’s show that we have learned this lesson by supporting an effective and sustainable recovery that also prepares these countries — and the rest of the world — for the next pandemic.” Kim said.He noted that, in addition to the severe effects of Ebola, the economic downturn in the three countries has been aggravated by the sharp decline in global iron ore prices, as well as the collapse of the mining sector in Sierra Leone, which has resulted in an unprecedented GDP contraction in that country estimated at 23.5 per cent.Since the WBG issued its last economic update on January 20, 2015, it says important differences among the three countries are emerging.The WBG new report has found that Sierra Leone is now facing a severe recession with the potential for an unprecedented 23.5% growth rate in 2015, resulting from financial issues that led to the closure of iron ore mining.The report also noted that a gradual return of Liberia to normalcy, with a projected GDP growth rate of 3%.The report further shows that the Ebola epidemic continues to cripple the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.An estimated GDP losses for the three countries in 2015 rose to US$2.2 billion: US$240 million for Liberia, US$535 million for Guinea and US$1.4 billion for Sierra Leone.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the week leading up to April 12, there were a total of 37 confirmed cases of Ebola, compared with 30 the previous week in Guinea and Sierra Leone.There has been no case reported in Liberia for the past three weeks.At the same time, World Bank has announced US$650 million as additional support to the three West Africa Ebola affected countries for the next 12 to 18 months to help them recover from the impact of the Ebola crisis.The new funding will be used to strengthen priority areas in health systems and frontline care, agriculture, education, cash transfers and other social protection programs, which include lifesaving infrastructure such as electricity, water, sanitation and roads.The funds will also be used to develop a regional disease surveillance system across West Africa that will help prevent or contain future pandemics.The new WBG pledge brings the organization’s total financing for Ebola response and recovery efforts to US$1.62 billion.Other commitments announced include $300 million from the African Development Bank, $80 million from GAVI, and $387 million from the Global Fund through 2017 for the worst Ebola affected countries in the sub region.This is in addition to previously committed funding to the Ebola response and recovery efforts from the United States, United Kingdom, and many other development partners, which represents a substantial investment in support of the national plans.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Bangladeshis Urged to Invest in Liberia

first_imgA visiting two-man Bangladeshi business delegation has been urged to invest in Liberia, especially in the agriculture sector. Welcoming the men to Liberia, Acting Foreign Minister B. Elias Shoniyin told the Bangladeshis that there is vast “untapped” opportunity in the nation’s fisheries sector. “Our waters are basically untapped. We have a longer costal line than Ghana; however, Ghana raises about US$600 million per annum just from fisheries and we actually raise less than one million,” Mr. Shoniyin disclosed. He said even though the Bangladeshis are in the country to explore investment opportunities, they also saw the need within the Foreign Ministry and decided to make the donations in those directions.The Acting Foreign Min. further told Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Sakib M. Rahman, and his associate, Mr. R. B. Thakur, of the Agrani Holdings Group Limited, Dhaka, Bangladesh, that most of the fishing that is ongoing in Liberia is artisanal fishing, which is being done right along the main coast; adding: “There is significant potential in the fishery industry.”Touching on another potential business area, he told the Bangladeshis how Liberia used to be the largest producer of natural rubber in the 1970s before other countries took over that role. “What is happening currently, we have tremendous old rubber trees; there is business opportunity in them. People want to cut the old trees and plant new ones.” He further stated that the old rubber trees, which are all across the nation, are very good for furniture making or for biofuel production. As he thanked the delegation for the donation of items, Mr. Shoniyin urged them to encourage other entrepreneurs to venture into furniture or biofuel business if they can’t do it themselves.Also speaking, Mr. Sakib M. Rahman, head of the delegation, said that they have had separate investment discussions with authorities of the Ministries of Commerce and Industry and Agriculture and authorities at the National Investment Commission (NIC). They also visited the International Bank (IB) on Broad Street.Mr. Rahman stated that at the Agriculture Ministry, authorities advised them that sugar was one of Liberia’s export commodities before the civil conflict; but is no longer the case as the world sugar market has now been overtaken by Brazil. “We talked about sugar cane, which is now largely grown in Liberia for domestic purposes but which can be processed into finished products like sugar. We will be exploring possibilities in the agricultural sector,” the head of the Bangladeshi business delegation said. He also mentioned that they intend to have some of their finished products in chocolates and mango and also noted that in their discussions, the Minister of Agriculture did encourage them to consider including livestock in their plans. Though the Bangladeshis are yet to meet with authorities of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Mr. Rahman stated that they also had discussions on the energy sector of Liberia. “I told the Minister that for all these things especially the livestock, we will need cold storage and it requires power,” he stated. On the energy sector, he indicated their focus would be on the transmission system of the national grid and how much transmission wires can be installed throughout the nation. He added that they are looking into all of this so that they might just develop investment interest in this sector. Mr. Rahman added: “Anything we will decide to do here [in Liberia], power is the first thing we need to look into.”The Bangladeshis donated needed items, valued at US$70,000, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for use by the Bureau of Protocol.The items presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs included one mini-bus, four motorbikes with accessories, one modern printing machine and 15 pieces of video conference units.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more