New Liberia government strikes first major road works deal
The new Liberian government has signed the first major construction project involving the rehabilitation of a key highway.
As part of an agreement signed with China Changqing International Construction Corporation (CICO), the Chinese will pave the Monrovia-Gbarnga-Ganta highway, one of the West African country`s major roads that has been in a dilapidated condition for years.
The project involves $166m and it is expected to take 10 years for its completion.
Samuel Koffi Woods, Public Works Minister designated, signed on behalf of the Liberian government, while Mr Fu Liangquan, Country Manager of China Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICO), signed for the contractor.
The government say the pavement of the estimated 180-kilometre road will add value to the struggling economic sector and serve as hope renewal for farmers.
Minister Woods said that phase one of the project is expected to be completed within the next three years.
With his ministry primarily playing a supervisory role in the course of the construction, the Public Works Minister Woods noted that there is provision for the involvement of Liberian-owned construction companies to work alongside the Chinese contractors.
He called on youth to take advantage of the opportunities both in terms of employment and capacity building for those who desire to become road engineers.
A total of 12 counties (regions) in Liberia will benefit from the project.
The stretch of road also form part of crucial trans-border highways linking Liberia to neighbouring countries. The project thus represents a fulfilment of part of Liberia`s commitment to the sub regional body, the Mano River Union, which has been working towards construction and rehabilitation of major highways to facilitate faster regional integration.
The project, said to be based on an 'Out-put and Performance-Based Contract’ also represents a partial fulfilment of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf`s promise during her first annual message to the Liberian legislature.
She`d promised to work towards expanding provision of basic social services such as electricity, safe drinking water and roads during her second term in office.
“Liberia will be a true example for countries to emulate in terms of development,” outgoing World Bank Country Manager, Dr Ohene Owusu Nyanin, said during the signing ceremony.
The World Bank, alongside the European Union, forms part of the financial benefactors of the project.