President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, on Monday, January 15, received the Order of the Star of Africa with the Grade of Grand Band of the Republic of Liberia, during an investiture ceremony hosted by Liberian Head of State, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Monrovia, Liberia.
“On behalf of the African Development Bank, I am deeply honoured to receive the Order of the Star of Africa, Liberia’s highest distinction,” said the President of the premier African financial and development institution before an audience of members of the Government, high-ranking accredited ambassadors and diplomatic staff.
“I would like to personally thank President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the jewel of Africa. When I took over as President of the African Development Bank in 2015, President Sirleaf became an important ally in our High 5s strategy to Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa. She had already begun focusing on these development priorities in Liberia, decades earlier as Minister of Finance and more recently as President,” Adesina added.
The award honours Adesina’s visible and tireless commitment to the rapid economic development of Liberia through, among others, the implementation of the Bank’s first and second priorities as set out in the High 5s:Light up and power Africa and Feed Africa.
The African Development Bank is credited with transforming the lives of Liberians through financing road and infrastructure projects, the provision of electricity, and the improvement of water and sanitation services.
According to President Sirleaf, “The African Development Bank has always be a good partner for Liberia. In the last two years, Liberia went through troubled times,” said the Liberian President. “And the African Development Bank became a close partner to Liberia in being able to set down with us, share our successes and challenges and continue to respond to our agenda and to our commitments regarding two priorities: power and connectivity and agriculture. In this last case, Akinwumi Adesina helped us to duplicate what he did when he was Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria with cassava. Now, cassava is grown all over Liberia,” she added.
“The African Development Bank will continue to support Liberia,” the President of the Bank said. “We look forward to working with President-Elect George Weah and the new administration to score the most important goals of developing Liberia.”
This distinction follows the inaugural meeting of the High Level Panel on International Migration in Africa (HLPM) held earlier in the day, which brought together the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe.
To date, the African Development Bank’s total cumulative commitments of approved projects in Liberia since its first intervention in 1967 is US $1.124 billion. The Bank’s active portfolio comprises 11 ongoing and recently approved operations with a total commitment equivalent to US $336.17 million.
There are 9 national operations valued at US $219.9 million and two multinational operations valued at US $116.20 million.
The portfolio is largely spread over six sectors and is heavily invested in infrastructure, predominantly in roads, energy, and water and sanitation, amounting to a total of US $290.25 million or 82% of the total commitments. This portfolio is aligned to Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation priorities. The transport sector accounted for the largest share of the portfolio (49%), followed by energy (23%), agriculture and rural development (14%), water and sanitation (11%), and governance (3%). The average project size in Liberia is US $30.6 million.