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Pres. Weah Launches US$100M New Community Development Program At UN Day

President George M. Weah has officially launched a new Community Development Initiative which is aimed at bringing development and growth to rural and urban poor.

The Accelerated Community Development Program (ACDP) will be implemented as a partnership between the Government of Liberia, the United Nations, the World Bank, and other development partners.

President George M. Weah

The Liberian leader, officially launching the program Monday, October 24, 2022 at UN House in Monrovia during ceremonies marking United Nations Day, described the effort as a Special Flagship Program under the Office of the President that will be of benefit to all Liberians.

The Liberian Chief Executive however further used to then occasion to dispel possible insinuations about the timing of the initiative, emphasizing, “I know that this initiative is coming a year before the Presidential and General Elections, and that there are some who will say this is a political project to win votes,” he said. “Let me make it clear. This is not the case.”

He noted that work on the program began several years ago, including feasibility study which was done in 2019 by Price Water-house Coopers, indicating that in that same year, a number of high-level officials of Government were sent to Senegal to observe and study a similar program known as PUDC.

“Since I spoke to you last year to kick off this program, we have been putting all the elements in place and mobilizing the financing to ensure that when we start,” he said further, adding, “We have the resources needed to continue.”

President Weah further revealed that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will serve as the Implementing Partner for the program because of its strong experience and know-how in rapidly implementing similar programs in countries such as Senegal, Togo, Gambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to him, the ACDP will be operated under the direction of a National Steering Committee he will chair, and will comprise various Ministries and Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, and Liberia’s international partners.

The Liberian leader further maintained that the program would be implemented in a manner that is transparent and that has the full ownership and involvement of the respective communities.

At the end of the day, he said, “I want the ACDP to produce real concrete and tangible improvements in the lives of our Liberian citizens. I would like the ACDP to be one of the largest investments in community development that this country has ever made.”

Considering the importance of the Program, President Weah announced that he requested the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to work with the UNDP, World Bank, African Development Bank, IMF, and the rest of the International Partner Community to conclude financing of approximately US$100m for the first phase of the program, which is to be implemented over the period 2022-2025.

The President also directed all Ministries and Agencies to collaborate in the implementation of the program and channel any support necessary.

President Weah declared that he aims to transition the program into a permanent national community development mechanism, which will be open to direct applications from communities for support.

“For all our partners here, I do wish to invite you to collaborate with us on this initiative. As you should realize, we are putting in place the building blocks for sustained long term development,” the President stressed.

According to him, the government of Liberia is solving the critical constraints of infrastructure and connectivity by improving our road networks. “We are solving the problem of energy and electricity, which is key for private sector investments. We are improving governance and tackling accountability,” President Weah emphasized. “It is important government ensures that ordinary Liberians can see real improvements in their lives with these critical investment interventions.”

He emphasized the need for farmers to bring their goods to markets, and that men, women and children in every village can have access to water and solar-powered electricity, while the very poor can have the dignity of a proper sanitation facility, and thereby said he remains firmly committed to promises he made when he took office in 2018.

Earlier, the UN Resident Coordinator, Neil Scott stated pointed out that the inaugurating of the presidential programme supported by the UN which will accelerate community development in some of the less developed areas of Liberia was as a result of President Weah plead to the international partners to support his government.

UN Resident Coordinator, Neil Scott

The UN Resident Coordinator among other things stressed that the will also further amplify the many other local development initiatives being implemented now or in the near future by the UN Country Team in support of the Government and the people of Liberia.

“The United Nations will increasingly focus its work downstream at the country level, closer to communities supporting government efforts towards development gains for all the people of Liberia.

“In so doing, we will work hand in hand with many valued partners including the County Superintendents some/many of which I have the honor to salute here today and to thank them making the trip,” he said.

To support local impact, he said, “I am pleased to say the United Nations Country Team is currently finalizing plans for regional programming hubs to reinforce its already considerable implementation across Liberia and a feasibility study for the first of these hubs in Gbarpolu is within a few days of completion.”

Mr. Scott added, “We are motivated in these undertakings by the new Fiscal Decentralization Bill, passed under your leadership Mr. President, which should greatly facilitate local development by providing much needed development resources to the counties.”

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