Tuesday, February 9, 2010

World Bank Concludes Two-Day Country Portfolio Performance Review in Liberia

Source: http://www.frontpageafrica.com/newsmanager/anmviewer.asp?a=10600&z=3

02/05/2010 - World Bank, Liberia

Monrovia - The World Bank and the Government of Liberia have concluded an intensive two-day long Country Portfolio Performance Review (CPPR) in Liberia. The two-day review held on February 2nd & 3rd, 2010 brought together Senior Management of the World Bank Liberia Country Team, led by the Country Manager Dr. Ohene Owusu Nyanin; Officials of Government headed by Minister of Finance, Hon. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan.

The CPPR portfolio under review comprises 12 projects totaling US$226 million. With the completion of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), the Bank’s three-year annual International Development Association (IDA) allocation is approximately US$138 million. The CPPR portfolio includes US$164.4 million in infrastructure and basic services (road rehabilitation, port rehabilitation, energy, water urban works); US$19 million for economic governance projects (forestry, public financial management, procurement reform and budget support); US$ 26.3 million for social protection (community-driven development projects, cash for work, women’s economic empowerment); US$ 7 million for agriculture; and US$ 8.5 million for health.

The objective of the CPPR was to access Performance in the implementation of Bank Projects. Ms Keller also noted that this year’s review was the first since the Bank reinitiated relations with Liberia in 2004 after a 20-year absence due to the civil war.

Presentations made at the review included: Infrastructure and Forestry; Social Protection and Human Development; Economic Governance; Monitoring and Evaluation; Governance and Project Risk; and Procurement. The cross-cutting challenges of Capacity and Procurement Management in various institutions were critical issues raised during the review; along with governance and accountability for results.

Speaking on behalf of the World Bank during the review, the Country Manager Dr Ohene Owusu Nyanin reiterated the Bank’s support for Liberia’s reconstruction and development agenda, and emphasized that the review was not just about World Bank projects, but about improving the lives of Liberians. He noted that the Bank is an “all-weather” friend, ready to work in partnership to overcome challenges and support the achievement of the development goals of Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

For his part, the Finance Minister, Hon. Ngafuan expressed gratitude for the World Bank’s strong engagement with Liberia. He stressed that this was truly an active partnership based on joint collaboration and a results-based approach “predicated not on what we can promise, but on how effectively we can deliver tangible development to the Liberian people”.

Also speaking, The Minister of State, Natty B. Davis noted that the first-ever World Bank Portfolio Review was an important opportunity to bring the teams closer together and unblock barriers to implementation. He called on colleagues in Government and the Bank to also take quick action with regards to capacity to improve the pace of implementation. He observed that the Bank’s response to Liberia was very timely, because systems and processes have been established and now need refinement to ensure progress in project implementation.

At the end of the two-day review session, a “Final Action Plan” was agreed by the World Bank and the Government based on group presentations from five thematic areas: Financial Management, Capacity Development, Economic Governance, Procurement & Contract Management, and Aid Effectiveness. It was agreed that rigorous monitoring and evaluation systems are needed to ensure money is being spent as intended and having real impact on the ground. Towards this goal, a two-day monitoring and evaluation workshop is being conducted for Government project staff February 4 and 5. This will help ensure that everyone understands the rules and procedures, and “red flags” that could indicate possible fraud and corruption in development projects. Creating a culture of transparency and accountability within Liberia will help ensure the maximum value for money and development impact for the Liberian people.

The Task Team leader of the CPPR, Ms Barbry expressed delight and gratitude for the level of attendance, and depth and quality of the deliberation.

The portfolio review was also attended by Minister of Planning & Economic Affairs, Hon. Amara Konneh; Minister of Public Works, Hon. Samuel Kofi Woods, II; Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Walter T. Gwenigale; Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Florence Chenoweth; Minister of Lands, Mines & Energy, Hon. Eugene Shannon; Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Hon. Natty B. Davis, Deputy Minister of Justice for Economic Affairs, Hon. Sam Ross; Civil Service Agency, Liberia Institute of Public Administration, the Public Procurement & Concession Commission; and Directors of various World Bank projects in the country. The portfolio performance review included: Infrastructure (Transport), Health, Community Empowerment Program) CEP and Cash for Work (Social Protection and Human Development), Agriculture, and Economic Governance (particularly Economic Governance & Institutional Reform project).

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Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

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Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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