The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a grant of US$46.50 million to Liberia within the context of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), an AfDB statement made available to PANA here Tuesday said.
The West African nation also got an African Development Fund loan worth US$6 million to finance the country’s Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization (SAPEC) Project.
The grant and loan agreements were signed by Liberia’s National Investment Commission chairman Natty B. Davis and the AfDB’s Vice-president for Sector Operations Kamal Elkeshen.
These two agreements reflect the strong partnership between the international donor community and the Bank in supporting the government’s reconstruction process, the statement said.
It said the goal of the SAPEC project is to reduce rural poverty and household food insecurity, and that the objective is to increase, on a sustainable basis, the income of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs, particularly women, youths and the physically-challenged.
Apart from helping to address food security, the grant aims to boost small holder agricultural productivity, and also to enhance commercialization. This will also help increase employment opportunities and improve the livelihoods of rural farmers.
National Investment Commission Chairman expressed satisfaction with the signing and described it as a milestone.
“This is the first agreement my country has signed since it launched relationships with the African Development Bank Group,” he said.
He also said he was pleased that the Bank is established in Liberia and that the loan and grant will help the government to realize its policy of taking services to rural communities.
For his part, VP ElKeshen expressed appreciation for efforts by the Liberian Government to continue ensuring the efficient implementation of Bank-funded projects in the country.
“We encourage the government to continue doing so in order to further improve the quality of the Bank Group’s portfolio of projects,” he said.
To date, the Bank Group’s cumulative commitments in Liberia is estimated at US$200 million.