World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz ended his visit to Liberia by addressing the nationâ€™s legislature on Friday where he praised the countryâ€™s economic progress, but warned there is a need for more improvements.
Wolfowitz arrived in Monrovia, Liberiaâ€™s capital on Friday and addressed a joint session of Liberiaâ€™s legislature where he examined the first annual budget proposal by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleafâ€™s government which totaled $120 million.
Liberia stands today at a critical crossroads, Wolfowitz told lawmakers. As Liberia joins the ranks of African nations coming out of long-running wars and conflicts, you have much to celebrate, but you also have a lot of work to do.
He recognized Johnson-Sirleafâ€™s great work towards â€œsteering this country on the road to recoveryâ€¦and engaging all Liberians in rebuilding the nation.â€ Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated as Liberiaâ€™s president in January this year, making her Africaâ€™s first democratically elected female president.
Wolfowitz has been touring African countries this month. He has already visited Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Benin and Sierra Leone. The next stop on his tour was scheduled to be Ghana on Saturday.
Wolfowitz also announced the admission of Liberia into the World Bankâ€™s Parliamentarian Network, which will work towards strengthening the countryâ€™s parliament by ensuring strict budgetary spending and revenue appropriation.
This marks the first time in a quarter century that Liberia has a real budget which has been drafted to meet the needs of all Liberian people, he added.
However, according to Wolfowitz, the average Liberian was currently surviving on 30 cents a day, which is below the internationally acceptable poverty line of $1 a day, calling the situation an alarming picture of deprivation and suffering.
The World Bank Group, on June 20 this year, approved an Emergency Infrastructure Grant for US$30 million to Liberia which will go towards helping the government rapidly reconstruct parts of the country's most in need.