President Sirleaf Dedicates Gbarnga-Ganta Guinea Border Road; Urges Nimba, Bong Citizens to Take Ownership
Monrovia, Liberia – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has officially dedicated the newly paved Gbarnga-Ganta to Guinea border highway with a call on the citizens of Nimba and Bong counties to take ownership of the road, which according to her will improve access, ensure regional integration, and economic cooperation amongst the four Mano River Union Member countries in enhancing.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the President Sirleaf made the remarks in Ganta, Nimba County at program marking the official dedication of the newly paved Gbarnga-Ganta to Guinea Border Road on Monday, March 7, 2016. “To you the people of Nimba, the people of Bong, and the people of Liberia, let me say, the progress we have made belongs to you” President Sirleaf said joyously.
The Liberian leader challenged the citizens of Bong and Nimba counties to take full ownership of the newly paved road that will improve trade and foster economic activities. She expressed deep satisfaction over the level of cooperation amongst the Mano River Union countries to enhance regional integration.
The Liberian Chief Executive used the occasion to paid tribute to all stake-holders and development partners alike for the joint efforts towards ensuring the implementation of the road project. She observed that development is not solely prerogative by government alone, adding the all citizens do have a critical part to play. She praised the Mayor of Ganta for rigorously enforcing City Ordinance with emphasis on quality of structures to be built within certain limits of the city.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has enjoined members of the National Legislature to ensure that as an integral part of the government, it was incumbent upon them to accelerate their role through the kind of collaboration and commitment that will bring impetus to the business of government.
Speaking on behalf President Alpha Conde of Guinea, Presidential Adviser and Minister of State of Guinea, Mr. Ousmane Bah, thanked President Sirleaf for the honor and invitation invite him to participate in the dedicatory ceremony of the Gbarnga to Guinea border road project. Mr. Bah then conveyed to President Sirleaf warmest congratulation on behalf her Guinean counterpart and brother, Prof. Alpha Conde for the landmark achievement, which according to him brings the neighboring countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’ Ivoire closer while opening up Liberia to a large extent.
He said with the completion of the road, it will be possible for citizens of both countries to travel across Guinea and Liberia particularly Monrovia to Nzerekore on paved road noting, “road is always a symbol for users and local population”. Mr. Ousmane Bah assured President Sirleaf that the pavement of the Guinea side of the border will get under way soon.
For his part, Public Works Minister, William Gyude Moore said road connectivity across Liberia remains a major priority for the Unity Part-led government. He said through collaboration between government and partners, feasibility studies are ongoing for the design and pavement of the Sanniquellie to Locatuo road, which leads to the Ivorian border. He disclosed that construction works are currently taking place for the pavement of an 11km road between Ganta and Yekepa. Touching on the roads in the southeast Minister Moore said, the first 50km road between Harper to Karloken is being worked on while work on the remaining 30 km from Karlokeh to Fish road will commence by December 2016.
In separate remarks, World Bank Country Manager Inguna Dobraja and the European Union Charge d’Affaires Emma Sundblad thanked President Sirleaf for the commitment in getting the road done. They observed that road will enhance economic development of the remote areas by connecting the country and creating access to market, schools, health center and other services essential for improving the wellbeing of citizens and growth and development of Liberia.
They furthered that in addition to contributing over US$300 and US$75million respectively towards the construction of the road between Monrovia and Guinea border through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF), the EU and World Bank presently funding the maintenance of the Monrovia/Buchanan and Monrovia to Sierra Leone Border roads, indicating that there are visible improvements in better roads and bridges through a series of projects being undertaken that are managed as a sector. They pledged their commitments and assured the Government and the people of Liberia of their continued support in addressing the development needs of country.
Also speaking was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, Margibi County Senator, Oscar Cooper who praised President Sirleaf for the progress in road connectivity across Liberia and challenged all Liberians to make economic use of the new road so that it would pay for itself. He urged the Minister of Transport to engage the Transport Unions to ensure that transportation fares are reduced as the cost of gasoline and fuel has declined.
In brief remarks, the Regional President of CHICO – West Africa, the company contracted to execute the project, expressed delight that his company was able to successfully implement Lot-2 of the highway construction, thereby contributing to Liberia’s development agenda. He thanked President Sirleaf for her leadership, and thanked the World Bank/EU and other stakeholders for making the project possible.
The project was financed through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF) and the Government of Liberia (GOL), towards the cost of the Liberia Road Asset Management Project with support from the World Bank, European Union, Norway/Norad, Germany/KfW, United Kingdom, Sweden amongst others. The design, rehabilitation and maintenance of the road started from Gbarnga-Jor Bridge via Ganta to the Guinea border. The 68.6 km road project began May 8, 2013 and lasted for two years.
Following the dedicatory ceremony, President Sirleaf and entourage drove to the Guinean border town of Jiecke – where she spoke of the need for more collaboration and cooperation in strengthening trade and economic activities between both countries. She thanked the Special Representative of Professor Alpha Conde of Guinea, Ousmane Bah accepting her invitation to form part of the dedicatory ceremony of Gbarnga-Ganta to Guinea border road. The program was attended by scores of senior government officials, the Diplomatic Corps, development partners as well as hundreds of jubilant citizens of Nimba and Bong Counties.