The Board and management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) have bid farewell to the outgoing World Bank Country Manager for Liberia, Dr. Khwima Nthara, for the meaningful role played in supporting and strengthening the country’s energy sector.
Speaking during the farewell and dinner program held in honor of Dr. Nthara on Friday, February 24, 2023, Monie R. Captan, Chief Executive Officer of LEC, said the work of Nthara as World Bank Country Manager for Liberia helped to intensify the government's policy direction in transforming LEC.
"Dr. Nthara will be leaving Liberia to take on another assignment, and we thought it wise at this time to say a special thank you to him for all of the many sacrifices that we have received from the World Bank and also through his leadership," the LEC Chief Executive Officer told members at the board meeting held at its Waterside head office.
Captan indicated that the country under President George M. Weah's leadership was privileged to have Dr. Nthara, who is committed to Liberia’s energy sector growth and LEC programs, because he went the extra mile, not just being the country's manager but showing very strong commitment and support to various projects of which LEC is a primary beneficiary.
"It is an honor to have you here, to bid you farewell, and to thank you for your support," he said, raising his hands in applause.
Captan noted that the work of the outgoing World Bank Country Manager has touched the lives of many Liberians by ensuring that citizens have access to stable electricity, among others.
Accordingly, during Nthara's stay in Liberia, the country continued to enjoy the LESSAP, which is the first project of a multi-phase programmatic approach (MPA) with a goal to provide sustainable, reliable, and affordable electricity to 632,500 Liberians.
The LSSAP also saw the rehabilitation and expansion of electricity infrastructure and provided sustainable solutions for electricity access, targeting two key areas: grid electrification in the greater Monrovia area and off-grid solar electrification at about 200 health facilities in particular to help build resilience against COVID-19.
Captan said under the leadership of the outgoing World Bank Country Manager, Liberia has been able to achieve those developments.
Speaking further, Liberia’s Finance Minister, Samuel D. Tweah Jr., lauded the outgoing World Bank Country Manager for the time and cooperation that existed between Liberia and the bank.
He stated that Nthara's continued presence demonstrated the Bank's strong commitment to Liberia under his leadership.
"As per my experience with the outgoing World Bank Country Manager, Dr. Nthara, in general with the Liberian government, I don't think there has been any other World Bank Country Manager who has been so instrumental and committed to Liberia's energy sector transformation as compared to Nthara," said Minister Tweah.
According to him, Nthara's stay in Liberia has transformed multiple sectors of the Liberian government, which is the real transformation process.
He recounted signing agreements through the International Monitoring Fund (IMF) under his leadership as the World Bank's country manager.
Tweah also stated that budgetary allocation and support has greatly improved service delivery across the country in areas such as energy, health, road construction, and education, among others, thereby improving lives and service delivery.
In response, World Bank Liberia's outgoing country manager, extended his profound gratitude to the government for facilitating his work in Liberia, noting that the collaboration between the World Bank and LEC did not start when he got to the country.
The outgoing World Bank Country Manager also described the honor as a "true partnership."
"Wow! What can I say? I'm truly speechless and really happy for such a gesture from this gathering. "You know, so many kind words have been said about me, but whatever we have been able to do in Liberia has been through mutual partnership and cooperation between the Liberian government and the World Bank," he asserted.
Nthara said whatever they have been able to do in Liberia, not just in the energy sector but in all sectors of government, has been because of good collaboration and true partnership.
He, however, said development is a personal journey for him because he grew up in a very little village in Malawi from a very poor family and a very humble background, and as such, he used to walk more than 5 kilometers a day from school, especially during weekends, which resulted in growing cattle and goats.
"We couldn't afford food most of the time, but my parents, in particular my mom, my grandmother, and then my grandfather, said education is the key to prosperity." He explained. They encouraged me to go to school even though some of my colleagues in the village couldn't go to school because they thought school was expensive and their parents couldn't afford it.
Nthara further explained, "When I was about to make a decision to go to university, I said what I should do, and I had to ask a few colleagues what I should do, and someone said economics. And so for me, the main idea was about making people's lives better and adjudicating myself out of poverty.