LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG — The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the government of Liberia have signed a €4 million agreement to study the West African nation’s rice sector in anticipation of large-scale investment to boost production, enhance food security and reduce dependence on imports.

The feasibility studies, financed by a grant from the European Development Fund under the Africa Investment Platform, will assess the entire rice value chain in Liberia, which produced just 170,000 tonnes of rice for its 5 million people in marketing year 2021-22. 

The studies will inform the design of an investment program by the EIB and Liberian partners expected to be launched next year, covering the entire rice value chain by improving production, building irrigation, upgrading food laboratories, and enhancing warehousing and logistics. 

“Liberia is highly vulnerable to global food shocks, with more than two-thirds of rice consumed in our country being imported from abroad,” said Agriculture Minister Jeanine M. Cooper. “Liberia’s partnership with the European Investment Bank and the European Union will boost local rice production, create private sector jobs across our country and reduce agricultural dependency of other countries. The close cooperation between Liberia and Europe is strengthening food security and reducing the impact of the war in Ukraine and recent global economic shocks on Liberia.”

The EIB is the world’s largest international public bank, owned directly by the 27 European Union member states and has been active in Liberia since 1978. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, EIB has provided more than €8 billion for private and public investment across Africa.

“The European Investment Bank is committed to scaling up investment to strengthen food security, improve domestic agricultural production and create jobs and reduce the impact of global food supply shocks on local consumers,” said Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of the EIB. “Over the coming months, detailed feasibility studies will identify priority investment that can transform rice production in Liberia and enable large-scale financing across the sector.”