President Sirleaf Breaks Ground for New Terminal Building, Runway Construction.

Monday, 21st November 2016
President Sirleaf greets LAA Board Chair Gbehzonguy Findley on arrival for ground-breaking ceremony.
President Sirleaf greets LAA Board Chair Gbehzonguy Findley on arrival for ground-breaking ceremony.
Photo Credit: Mr. James M. Jarresen-EXECUTIVE MANSION
Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has broken ground for the construction of a new passenger terminal building and the rehabilitation of Runway 04 and 22 at the Roberts International Airport in Unification City, Lower Margibi County. 
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader performed the ground-breaking ceremony on Monday, November 21, 2016 at the Roberts International Airport. The project is financed by a US$50 million loan facility from the China Exim Bank while the implementing partners include China Harbor Engineering Company and Sino Hydro.
Speaking at a colorful ceremony, President Sirleaf said the airport will shortly be transformed into a modern airport through the rehabilitation and construction of a modern terminal. She said during World War II, the RIA was used by the United States of America for refueling its war machineries. She furthered “Improving the airport will be a milestone in Liberia’s social and economic development. She said the idea to modernize the airport will further enhance a greater aspiration of the country and promote economic growth and development.  
President Sirleaf commended the President of the People’s Republic of China, through Ambassador Zhang Yue, Chinese and team for their dedication and commitment to the project. She expressed happiness that Liberia will have an airport that is up to international standards adding, “Am so glad that finally we can have an airport that will meet international standards” noting, “We feel ashamed especially when we have strangers visiting Liberia”. 
President Sirleaf said there were priorities in priority but according to her, RIA had to be put aside for some other emergency priorities something she said was in the interest of the country. President thanked the Liberia Airport Authority management, Board Chair, the Legislature and all of those contributed to the project. 
The Airport was built during the Second World War by the United States government to serve as a base for its military operations. After the war and until 1985, the airport was administered by Pan American/World Airways (Pan-Am) and remained a key link in the African network for Pan-Am. When Pan-Am ceased operations, the Government of Liberia assumed responsibility for the operations of the airport.
Speaking earlier, Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Yue said the project is financed by China Exim Bank in the amount of UD$50million through a concessional loan. He noted that the run way is funded by the Saudi Fund and the Arab Bank and supported by the United States Government. He said both projects will be respectively implemented by the China Harbor and Sino Hydro.
Ambassador Zhang Yue explained that the new terminal will cover an area of more than 5000-Square meters and designed for an average annual passenger volume approximately 320,000 persons. Ambassador Yue said this is the first time that China has offered a concessional loan to the Liberia. He furthered that the new terminal building is also a China-Liberia bilateral project while the entire airport project constitutes an outcome of multi-stakeholders cooperation.
He said from now on, we expect to see Chinese-led speed and quality. “I am confident that China Harbor will present Liberia a state of the art new terminal building”, he told the gathering. 
Meanwhile, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was taken on a guided tour by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yue to inspect ongoing work at the RIA, including a 162- bedroom Hotel currently undergoing construction. 
In separate remarks, Gbehzongar Findley, Chairman, Board of Directors of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA) and Wil Bako Freeman, Managing Director –Liberia Airport Authority thanked President Sirleaf for her extraordinary leadership to the development of Liberia. They expressed delight that the project will serve as the President’s legacy.  
The Ceremony was graced by senior government officials including Margibi Legislative Caucus, international partners, citizens of Margibi and well-wishers.