Japanese Gov’t Dedicates Modern Gbarnga Central Market

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Marketers in Gbarnga, Bong County, can now conduct business without enduring the scorching sun, thanks to the new Central Gbarnga Modern Market building, dedicated on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Previously, marketers faced the challenge of transacting under the hot sun and being displaced by property owners.

Sahr Johnny, Economic Advisor to President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr., praised the Japanese government for this transformative initiative, highlighting its role in advancing President Boakai’s economic agenda. He urged marketers to maintain cleanliness and maximize the facility’s benefits.

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabriel H. Salee, lauded Japan’s contribution to Liberia’s development, emphasizing the strong bilateral ties between the countries and urging effective utilization of the new facilities.

Acting Foreign Minister Salee acknowledged Japan’s multifaceted support, extending beyond food assistance to include human resource capacity building and social responsibility initiatives.

At the official dedication ceremony, H.E. Mochizuki Hisanobu, Japan’s Ambassador to Liberia, handed over the market to the Liberian government. Ambassador Hisanobu emphasized that the market’s construction would alleviate the hardships faced by marketers in Gbarnga and surrounding areas, and reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to supporting Liberia’s economic development through bilateral cooperation.

Ambassador Hisanobu highlighted the rice donation as part of Japan’s strategy to enhance agricultural productivity through infrastructure development, including rice mills.

The new market building, constructed by the government of Japan, offers a spacious environment capable of accommodating over 3,000 people, according to Julius K. Sele, Executive Director of the Liberian Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE). It features state-of-the-art toilet facilities and warehouses, enhancing convenience and operational efficiency for local traders.

Director Sele noted that the market project is part of Japan’s broader infrastructure development support in Liberia, expressing gratitude for the enduring friendship between the two nations.

Beyond the Gbarnga Central Market, Japan has funded other market structures in Liberia, including the 14-Gobachev Market in Omega community, Paynesville, and the Duala Market. Additionally, the Japanese Government recently donated US$1.5 million worth of rice under its 2022 Food Aid Program to bolster Liberia’s food security efforts.

Japan’s support to Liberia began in 2008 and continues to enhance local rice production capabilities in counties like Nimba, Lofa, and Bong. This collaboration underscores a shared commitment to sustainable development and mutual prosperity.

Looking forward, additional initiatives under Japan’s development assistance framework are being negotiated, including establishing a Liberian wood workshop to bolster economic growth. The dedication of the Gbarnga Central Market and the Japanese rice donation signify key milestones in Japan-Liberia relations, addressing immediate challenges and laying the foundation for long-term development and prosperity. This partnership continues to strengthen, driven by shared values and a mutual commitment to enhancing livelihoods and promoting inclusive growth in Liberia.

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