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‘’Women Empowerment Sits at the middle of the Economy’’ says Minister Tweah; As GoL, World Bank signs over US$44.6M Agreements

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Monrovia, Liberia - Finance and Development Planning Minister, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr. has said that women and girls empowerment sits at the middle of the country’s economy.

Minister Tweah made the disclosure on Monday, July 4, 2022, when the Government of Liberia and the World Bank signed over USD 44 million for the Liberian Women Empowerment Project (LWEP).

The government also signed additional financing for the COVID-19 emergency project in the amount of USD 9 million.

Of the amount, $17.8 million is an IDA grant, while $ 26.8 million is an IDA grant credit.  Also, as per the Covid-19 $9 million, USD 6.2 million is an IDA grant, while USD 2.8 million is an IDA credit.

Hon. Tweah said the agreements are part of efforts to improve and support one of the key priorities in the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). The project, he says, will empower them to address some of the key constraints and barriers that they have faced in realizing their full potential.

He thanked the World Bank for its huge support over the years and said the process has shown a more transformative, cooperation and coordination the government has ever had in the history of its relationship with the Bank, over the last three years.

“I think this is the most transformative way of cooperation and coordination we have ever had in the history of our relationship with the World Bank in Liberia since the last three years ‘’ he explains.

 According to him, the best way to talk about the economy is to have discussions on women empowerment. “The best way to talk about the economy is to have discussion on women empowerment but we have done that, we talk about GDP, poverty, but we don’t look at women at the center and poverty reduction.”

“if you want to reduce poverty in the world, the way to do that is to focus on women”. He said when women farmers succeed, evidence shows that their success is sustainable and if a woman farmers succeed, the household succeeds, the community succeeds when all women organize themselves and work better.

“As we are empowering women through this project, we are looking at girl’s enrollment, girl’s retention and what keeps girls in school or class”, he said.

For his part, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia Dr. Khwima Nthara said: “Women have not shared equally in the dividends of peace since the end of the civil conflict and a large number of women have been excluded from the country’s economic development by persistently high gender disparities.

He noted that the ranking shows that, 156th out of 162 countries on the 2019 gender inequality index., Liberian women and girls have been disadvantaged in practically all areas of society, and throughout their lives.

According to him, statistics from the 2019 gender inequality index of 156 countries shows that women and girls in Liberia were at disadvantage in all areas of society.

He notes that women have fewer, less stable and less attractive job opportunities compared to males. He blames society norms for being a significant barrier to women’s empowerment in the country.

“Studies have shown that nearly half (45.5 percent) of Liberian women have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence from a husband or partner within the past 12 months. Furthermore, gender-based violence (GBV) impacts women and girls across their entire life cycle”, Nthara said.

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