“Is road network the key to fast developmental drive” is the question most Liberians often ask nowadays as a massive road building process continues in the country. Since the nation’s Independence in 1847, the country has been struggling to develop and empower her citizens for better livelihood.
The current President- Madam Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf- is the first female and 23rd leader to govern Liberia. But many Liberians have felt betrayed from the actions of their past presidents. This is clearly often expressed by disappointed Liberians at social gatherings such as A-ta-yee shops (herb tea) in the country. “Our Presidents have not done anything for us because they do not have the country “At – Heart” Look at Japan’s Economy now; it was compared to Liberia’s Economy one – to- one in the 70’s. We are really behind time because our leaders are too corrupt. They see Liberia as their farm an America as their homes. That’s why we fought and killed each other but have not yet learnt lesson”. These are common expressions often heard in social and public groupings- on buses, tea shops, and entertainment centers among others.
Though most residents in the urban areas- like Monrovia and its environs often complain about hard cost of living, residents in the rural settings often pray for improved road network and peaceful nation. Liberians with such views believe that improved road network encourages inter-counties trades at reasonable cost. Drivers will not over charge farmers to transport their goods to Monrovia or other areas because it will take the drivers less time on the road to reach their destinations or may not experience more problems as it often happens on bad roads.
Judging the mixed views and feelings among residents in Liberia, analysts agree that though past leaders and current leader have not done much to improve infrastructure developments that would further better the livelihoods of residents in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf shall be remembered by many people for the road projects being undertaking in her administration. The Chinese firm- the China Henan International Cooperation Group (CHICO) is paving about 233.61 km road from Monrovia to Liberia’s boarder in the northeastern region with Guinea for $230.9m. From Monrovia to Gbarnga (165km) costs $160m and from Gbarnga to the Liberian -Guinean border (68.61km) costs $70.9m. Additionally, the road from Monrovia to the eastern port city of Buchanan (91km) has already been reconditioned to standard, and plan to recondition the Somalia Drive Road (Red-light- Paynesville to the Free Port of Monrovia) is been worked on for implementation.
All those who often travel on these paved roads commend the government of Liberia and its partners (the EU, Irish Aid, UK Aid, SIDA and NORAD) for funding major road projects in the country. Farmers and business people including drivers are happy for the projects and asking the government to consider reconditioning all major roads in the nation for fast movement from one county to another to conduct business. Most Liberians have truly recognized road network as a major boost to inter-county trades.