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Signing ceremony of Financing Agreement with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in Additional Financing Support to the REALISE Project, and signing of partnership commitment by AFD, Sweden, and World Bank

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On June 14, 2023, in the presence of the French Ambassador to Liberia HE Mr. Michaël ROUX, Minister of Finance and Development Planning Honorable Samuel D. TWEAH, and AFD Country Director Christophe COTTET, signed an 8.8MEUR (approximately 9.5 MUSD) grant financing agreement to support the economic empowerment of people living in vulnerability in rural areas.

This support will be part of the Recovery of Economic Activity for Liberian Informal Sector Employment (REALISE) Project co-financed by the World Bank, Sweden, and France, and implemented by the Government of Liberia. The REALISE project aims to increase access to income-earning opportunities for the vulnerable in the informal sector in response to crises, expand income and livelihood support to poor and food-insecure households, and improve efficiency in managing social protection programs in Liberia. The project includes activities such as the provision of cash for work to enhance food production, and community infrastructure as well as support to local cooperatives to facilitate communities’ access to markets. The signing ceremony was also the occasion to sign Sweden’s and AFD’s respective administrative and co-financing agreements with the World Bank in the presence of the Swedish Ambassador to Liberia HE Mr. Urban Sjöström and World Bank Acting Country Manager, Mr. Mack Capehart Mulbah.

This signing ceremony, which celebrates the renewed commitment of France to the youth of the Republic of Liberia –support that will be delivered hand in hand with the World Bank and Sweden –was attended by high-level representatives of the Government of Liberia (Honorable Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Minister Williametta P. Saydee-Tarr, and Minister D. Zeogar Wilson), French and AFD representatives (H.E. the Ambassador of France Mr. Michaël ROUX, AFD Country Director Mr. Christophe COTTET), the Embassy of Sweden represented by H.E the Ambassador Urban Sjöström and by the World Bank Acting Country Manager Mr. Mack Capehart Mulbah.

Overall, the REALISE project provides income and livelihood support to vulnerable, poor, and food-insecure households both in urban and rural areas while also strengthening the social protection system in Liberia. AFD’s complementary funding will focus on the development of community livelihoods in the rural space, primarily in Bong, Bomi, Lofa, and Gbarpolu counties. This includes the provision of cash for work to enhance food production, support to community development plans as well as support to local cooperatives to facilitate market linkages. The REALISE project is a US$42 million project supported by the World Bank, France, and Sweden and implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment. The French Government funding will be up to €8.8 million (approximately US$9.5 million).

Although not restricted to youth, a majority of the project beneficiaries are expected to be the youth, given Liberia’s current demography, which further illustrates AFD and its partner’s (World Bank and Sweden) commitment to designing interventions that target the Liberian youth. Since the resumption of its activities in 2018, AFD has indeed, committed more than €43 million in grants to the Republic of Liberia, more than half of which has targeted the young people of Liberia. This co-financing with Sweden is also an illustration of the European Union Member States’ growing efforts to join forces to support the Republic of Liberia, especially within the framework of “Team Europe Initiatives” like support to agriculture and food security.

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