MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The World Bank has approved a financing package to improve the investment climate, expand sustainable access to finance, and increase the efficiency of trade in Liberia. The Liberia Investment, Finance, and Trade (LIFT) project, financed by the International Development Association (IDA) in the amount of $40 million ($20 million grant and $20 million credit), is the first World Bank financing project in a generation to support Liberia’s private and financial sectors and the first such for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Central Bank of Liberia.
The LIFT project will improve the investment climate, expand sustainable access to finance, and increase the efficiency of trade in Liberia. In doing so, the project is supporting Liberia’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, in particular, pillar two that focuses on the Economy and Jobs. It has been prepared under the Government’s leadership and in close collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other Donors that are also supporting Liberia’s private and financial sectors.
“The financing package will be critical to supporting the Government’s jobs agenda, as it is through the private sector that Liberia can create more and sustainable jobs,” said Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager in Liberia. “In particular, building on recent improvements in macroeconomic indicators, the project will support far-reaching structural reforms that will improve the business environment and hence, send a clear message that Liberia is truly open for business,” he added.
This new project will improve Liberia’s investment climate by strengthening institutions providing government to business services covering investment support, business licensing and an international trade single window; and improves capabilities and competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises through targeted technical assistance linking them to markets and access to finance, through technical assistance and a Line of Credit. Additionally, the Liberia Investment, Finance and Trade Project seek towards supporting access to digital financial services, through a new National Electronic Payment Switch, and a Credit Reference System.
“The need for increased private sector investment and for SMEs to have access to markets and finance is very critical,” said Task Team Leaders Thomas Vis and Kiyotaka Tanaka. “Therefore, this LIFT Project will seek to capitalize on emerging national, regional and international trade opportunities and the existence and potential of Foreign Direct Investment in Liberia, to offer a combination of technical assistance and finance to support SMEs to access markets, improve capabilities, and increase productivity” they added.