RAILWAY DEVELOPMENT DISCUSSIONS ON LIBERIA-GUINEA ONGOING

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An International Ministerial Conference between the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Guinea has begun in Monrovia, Liberia.

The conference is intended to discuss the development of a rail corridor to transport Guinea mining products using Liberia port infrastructure.

The rail will also facilitate the transport of agricultural produce, people, and services.

The project is intended to seize opportunities presented by the new emerging market and capacity to marshal financial resources at scale.

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In 2019, Africa signed the Free Trade Area agreement (AFCFTA) on 30th, May 2019.

Private sector participation is critical to the attainment of the AFCFTA objectives, given its entrepreneurial and innovative approach to surmount challenges, agility to adapt and reshape business models to seize opportunities presented by the new emerging market, and capacity to marshal financial resources at scale.

According to the project overview, a key challenge to achieve the rail objectives, including the lack of adequate trade enabling infrastructure on the African continent.

The African Development Bank estimates the railway infrastructure deficit to be between US$ 130 Billion to US$ 170 Billion per annum. Given the railway infrastructure gap, no one can bridge.

The development of railway infrastructure in West Africa has an economic, strategic, and political history. Discussion between the Republic of Guinea and the Republic of Liberia relating to regional integration vis-a-vis shipping of mining products through Liberia has been ongoing for the last 38 years.

It is against this backdrop that the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Guinea are seeking to drive the use of railway infrastructure under the Implementation Agreement as a conduit to establish a legal, institutional and operational framework between the two Governments to secure the use of railway infrastructure in Liberia by Guinea Mining exporters.

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Speaking at the opening of the conference, Liberia Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, pledged Liberia’s commitment to implementing and living up to the terms and conditions that will be reached during and after the meeting.

He noted that Liberia and Guinea share a common border which enables both countries to facilitate close border trade for the common good of both countries’ citizens in serving humanity.

Foreign Minister Kemayah added that today’s meeting with the Guinean counterpart and all technicians will speak to the fact that the two countries hold together a stronger relationship that cannot be overemphasized.

Mr. Kemayah uses the occasion to reflect on the long-standing bonds characterized between the Government and people of Liberia and the Guineas government which intermarriage a cross border trade root.

According to Minister Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, the government of Liberia through the National Legislature has ratified the bilateral implementation agreement following which president George Weah has signed into law, noting that it is to demonstrate that Liberia takes seriously the full implementation of this agreement.

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Also speaking, Guinean Foreign Minister M. Ibrahima Kalil Kaba, said the realization of the project will create working opportunities for the benefit of the two countries.

He added that it is a great opportunity for cooperation that will enhance development for both countries, noting that he is hopeful for the full realization of the project.

The Guinea Foreign Minister informed his neighbor that the Guinean President, Alpha Conde lauded president George Weah and Liberians for signing the agreement bill into law.

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The conference is expected to last from the 9th of June to the 11th, 2021.

Liberia Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, and Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, Liberia Maritimes Boss Lenn Eugene Nagbe among others lead the Liberian delegates, and Guinean Foreign Minister Ibrahima Kalil Kaba, the Minister in charge of General Bourema Conde, Minister of State in Charge of Defense Guinea, Mohamed Diane, Minister in Charge of Territory Administration among others also represent Guinea.

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