United States Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Deborah Malac, has dedicated a 49 kilometer road in central Liberia, Bong County Liberia.
Speaking during the dedication of the rehabilitated road in Bong County on Thursday through her proxy, Madam Barbara Dickerson, USAID Deputy Mission Director, the United States Ambassador said that access to markets and basic social services is a key ingredient in the fight against poverty.
She commended General Manager Mr. Samuel B. Cooper III and Westwood Corporation, a Liberian-owned company, and other implementing partners for the rehabilitation of the 49 kilometers of farm-to-market roads in Palala, Bong County which was being dedicated, and also 36 kilometers in Lofa and Nimba which represents 85 kilometers of roads completed as part of the United States government-funded, USAID implemented farm-to-market roads rehabilitation project. She has pledged her government’s continuous support toward Liberia’s reconstruction drive.
She disclosed that road investment can create opportunities for the poor directly through employment in labor-based road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance. Ambassador Malac said, “Better roads also mean that people can significantly reduce the inordinate amount of time spent travelling short distances on bad roads. Also, improved roads can lower the relatively high cost of rural transportation, which often strains the meager income of rural dwellers”.
The U. S. diplomat maintained that her government remains strongly committed to working with the government of Liberia to achieve the country’s transportation development agenda as outlined in the Agenda for Transformation (AFT), the National Decentralization Policy (NDP) and the Transport Master Plan (TMP).
Also speaking, Bong County Superintendent, Selena Polson Mappy, described road connectivity as an important tool in the country’s development and could help boost economic activities of rural dwellers and Liberia in general.
She indicated that the rehabilitation of major farm-to-market roads funded by the U.S. Government through USAID will aid marketers as they commute from one place to another to sell their produce.
Superintendent Mappy, however, lauded USAID’s implementing partners, especially Westwood Construction Company which is purely Liberian-owned, for the completion of the 49 kilometers laterite rehabilitation of the road linking several towns in Bong County.
For her part, the Vice President and Administrative Manager of Westwood Corporation, Mrs. Agnes Cooper, pledged her company’s unflinching commitment to Liberia’s rebuilding process.
According to her, the growth and development of every nation squarely rests on quality roads to support government socio-economic deliverables.She said Westwood will continue to contribute to road rehabilitation and construction in Liberia given the availability of modern equipment, engineers and contractors employed by the company.
At the same time, Public Works Deputy Minister for Administration, Roland Giddings, has underscored the need for road sustainability across Liberia. Mr. Giddings pointed out that most of the roads are being rehabilitated every year due to the lack of proper maintenance.
He said if the country’s road network is to be improved, government and its development partners must employ modern technology such as the Otta Seal process which has been successfully used in other countries. Until then, infrastructure development remains a serious challenge.