Liberia gets World Bank financing for new fishing project

The World Bank has issued a preparatory project advance of USD 3.7 million (EUR 3.4 million) to Liberia out of a planned USD 40 million (EUR 36.3 million) fisheries agreement between the bank and the country aimed at supporting sustainable management of fisheries, improved post-harvest practices, and revamping of aquaculture in the West African nation.

The advance financing will, among other things, support the approved rehabilitation and expansion of the Mesurado fishing port – which was destroyed during the country’s civil war – as Liberia seeks to increase its marine and inland fish production and reduce fish and fish products importation – which costs the country an estimated USD 7.3 million (EUR 6.6 million).

The agreement – signed on 21 January by Liberia Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and World Bank Liberia Country Manager Khwima Nthara – builds on the gains achieved under the West Africa Regional Fisheries (WARF) program, a previous World Bank-financed initiative that focused on nine West African countries up to 2018.

WARF promoted good governance and sustainable management of fisheries, reduction of illegal fishing, and increasing the contribution of the marine fish resources to the economies of Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana.

Last year, Liberia successfully negotiated financing with the World Bank for the new projects, including Mesurado, that is now set to be transformed into a “state-of-the-art modern fishing port with onshore processing facilities for value addition.”

Furthermore, new landing jetties will be developed in at least four counties along Liberia’s 570-kilometer-long coastline to enable reduction in post-harvest losses and expand access to domestic market that exports just USD 600,000 (EUR 540,000) worth of product to foreign markets.

According to Nthara, the new fisheries project will be integrated with the previous WARFP achievements “and speed up its advancement throughout the five coastal counties."

Furthermore, Liberia – which produces an estimated 12,600 metric tons (MT) and 2,200 MT of marine and inland fish output respectively – is expected to develop additional modern landing sites/jetties that would facilitate not only the reduction of post-harvest losses, but also improve general hygiene and safety conditions, especially for small scale fishers.

By the time the regional WARF program ended in 2018, Liberia had already developed an inshore exclusive zone (IEZ) for artisanal fishermen, and drafted the enabling legislation, completed registration of small-scale fishing fleets, achieved improvements in the national fishing fleet licensing policies in a number of fisheries and an overall enhancement in licensing transparency, the bank said.

The bank also said WARF supported Liberia’s capacity to monitor industrial fishing vessels using satellite-based technology has been enhanced while sea patrols were intensified against illegal fishing, community fisheries management initiatives prioritized, and rights recognized.

Photo courtesy of the Liberia Ministry of Finance


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