- Grant Total: $15,073,050
- Signed: July 7, 2010
MCC and the Government of Liberia signed a $15 million threshold program grant agreement on July 6, 2010 that will focus on improving land rights and access, increasing girls’ primary education enrollment and retention, and improving Liberia’s trade policy and practices.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) oversees implementation of the program on behalf of MCC.
Liberia faces several constraints to improving its primary education system. Although primary education is compulsory and entrance is free, the cost of materials and uniforms makes schooling unaffordable for many parents. Component 2 of the program will help increase girls’ primary education enrollment and retention in the three communities with the largest number of out-of-school girls. The program will provide over 7,000 scholarships to girls to cover the additional costs required to attend primary school. In addition to the scholarships, mentoring and counseling programs will promote awareness of health issues, including malaria, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and sanitation, and will provide free or inexpensive medical treatment. Several target communities will also receive performance-based grants to improve the school environment (specific activities to be financed through these grants will be informed by a needs assessment and community consultations to be undertaken by the United States Agency for International Development). Finally, the program will support a sensitization campaign to educate parents and communities on the benefits of sending girls to school and to reduce resistance to girls’ schooling.
- Provide scholarships to 2,350 girls each year in three counties - Bong, Grand Bassa, and Lofa. Each scholarship will cover the basic costs of uniforms, books, cost of transportation, and other similar items that make it possible for students to attend school.
- Provide social interventions such as counseling and mentoring programs and launch sensitization campaigns targeted at teachers, school administrators, parents, and the community to help create an environment supportive of girls’ education in order to improve retention.
- Provide performance-based grants to 30 targeted schools over three years to improve the school environment, including renovations of roofs/classrooms, construction of latrines, water pumps, provision of classroom furnishings, and other items identified through a needs assessment and community consultations.
Liberia has the twelfth highest weighted average tariff rate in the world and the second highest in West Africa. In addition, import bans and restrictions, inadequate trade capacity, minimal enforcement of intellectual property rights, poor infrastructure and licensing, and corruption add to the cost of trade. Component 3 of the program will support Liberia’s efforts to improve trade policy and practices, and will complement other donor efforts in this area. The program will support tariff harmonization by providing training to Liberian officials and by launching a multimedia campaign to improve knowledge and awareness of these reforms. The program will also support efforts to reduce non-tariff trade barriers through increased knowledge of and engagement with regional and global organizations, and by improving the regulatory environment. With the passage of a new customs code, will update regulations, inform the public of new changes, and train relevant stakeholders. Finally, the program will support protection of intellectual property rights, including legislation amendments and trainings.
- Raise awareness and support implementation of tariff harmonization.
- Strengthen Liberia’s trade policy by increasing conformity with international standards.
- Modernize Liberia’s customs practices to increase transparency and quality and improve compliance with existing legislation.
- Strengthen efforts to protect intellectual property rights.
Liberia has a dual land tenure system of formal and customary land tenure. The two separate land tenure systems, poor records management, and a lack of reliable land information systems have caused legal disputes, social conflicts, unequal land access, and significant property registration constraints, which hinder domestic and international investment in Liberia.
Component 1 of Liberia’s threshold program is designed to provide the foundation for reforms in land policy and legislation to promote equal land access and increased land security. It will support studies of Liberia’s customary land tenure to better understand existing rules and institutions, including women’s land access. In addition, studies of the formal legal framework will be conducted to provide the information needed for legislative reform of the property rights system. Support also will be provided to help rebuild Liberia’s technical capacity in land administration and surveying. Finally, the program will rebuild the deed registry system and improve its capacity and procedures, including the management and storage of land records to increase the efficiency of land administration and land transfers.
- Increase clarity and public understanding of property rights issues in order to help the National Land Commission to develop a comprehensive reform strategy for land policy and law.
- Rebuild and restore public confidence in the system of land administration through reforms of management, improved procedures, and rebuilding of public and private surveying capacity.
- Improve management of land records and increase efficiency in registration of land transfers and land market operations by the National Center for Documentation and Records/Archives.