26 June 2012

Liberia: U.S. Envoy Wants Energy Sector Improved

The newly assigned Chargé d'Affaires of the United States Embassy near Monrovia, Michael R. Arietti, has stressed the need to tackle the power and energy sector here.

"Power is critical and can create the enabling environment for private sector development which creates jobs."

Arirtti made the comments when he paid a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, according to a release.

He assured President Sirleaf that America-Liberia relations will be further strengthened during his tenure, and promised continued U.S. support to the country's rebuilding process, particularly the restoration of the hydro and support to the security sector.

The US envoy also informed the Liberian leader that over US$100,000 will be disbursed to grassroots organizations under the Ambassador's Self-Help Project.

Ambassador Arietti informed the President that his assignment in Liberia is temporary, as a new U.S. Ambassador is expected to take assignment here in October, following confirmation by the U.S. Senate. On the issue of arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze, the Ambassador said he was ready to help Liberia achieve what it needs on such matters.

In response, President Sirleaf briefed the US envoy on the state of affairs, including progress and challenges during her first term, as well as plans for the next six years and beyond.

She informed Ambassador Arietti that a Comprehensive Development Plan - An Agenda for Transformation - is being formulated to guide government's actions in the rebuilding process. "Consistent with the plan, Liberia will be a middle-income country by 2030," President Sirleaf said.

The Liberian leader told the U.S. diplomat that addressing the huge unemployment problem amongst youths and young people is a pressing priority of government.

She stressed the need to attract direct foreign investment to create jobs, investment in technical and vocational education, and expansion in agricultural production as measures aimed at solving the youth vulnerability problem, adding "Addressing the problem of young people promotes peace and consolidates the reconciliation process."

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