Thursday, January 31, 2008

World Bank’s plan for post-conflict states discussed in Liberia

In the second leg of his week-long African tour, World Bank President Robert Zoellick flew to Liberia to meet with officials from the Liberian government, international development agencies and the private sector to search solutions to help rebuild the country.

The Bank president said it was imperative to bring in the private sector to help create jobs and rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

From Reuters:

…Zoellick met donors and U.N. officials to discuss how to fund Liberia's infrastructure needs, which the government puts at $700-800 million, mostly for roads. The Bank oversees a Liberia infrastructure trust fund which already has $90 million.

Liberia has struggled to attract private companies to build roads, mostly due to high costs importing equipment. Chinese firms have expressed interest but want to be sure they can get contracts if they spend the money bringing in the equipment.

Zoellick said post-conflict governments faced a shortage of skill-led workers, with many professionals having left the country and living abroad. The challenge was to either quickly train new professionals or compensate and attract back those who had left.

During his two-day trip Zoellick also meet with finance ministers of four other West African post-conflict countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Liberia – to seek advice how to provide financial support to speed the recovery of these states. Other than providing monetary aid in a timely manner, I could not find any other concrete suggestions solicited from the group. More later, I hope.

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