18 July 2012

Liberia, Malawi Sign Joint Commission Agreement

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia and the Republic of Malawi have initialed an Agreement for the establishment of a Joint Commission for Co-operation on the margins of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The initialing ceremony took place on Monday, 16 July 2012 and is in fulfillment of prior consensus reached between H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, and H.E. Madam Joyce Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi, during the latter's official visit to Liberia in April 2012.

President Banda's visited Liberia to meet H.E. Madam Sirleaf, the first female African Head of State, and discuss areas of bilateral cooperation between the two States. During the visit, President Banda, Africa's second female Head of State, expressed optimism for an enhanced cooperation between the two States.

H.E. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Liberia, and His Malawian counterpart, H.E. Ephraim Mganda Chiume, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation initialed the Agreement.

The Agreement aims to promote partnership between the two countries in the areas of Agriculture and livestock; trade, industry, mining and tourism; monetary and financial arrangements. Other areas covered under the Joint Commission for Co-operation include development of transportation and communication facilities, infrastructure, health, education, institutional development and capacity building and environmental issues.

The Agreement will be officially signed once reviewed and cleared by the legal arms of both countries. During the ceremony, the Malawi Foreign Minister reiterated his country's anticipation of a reciprocal visit of H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to Malawi. Minister Ngafuan, for his part, expressed delight that the only two countries with female Presidents in Africa are working to promote the wellbeing of their citizens through Joint Co-operation. He further stressed that the consolidation of the relationship between Liberia and Malawi could enhance the cause of women empowerment on the African Continent.

It is expected that the official signing of the Joint Commission Co-operation will be done during the requested visit of President Sirleaf to Malawi.

It has been initially agreed that the Commission, once signed, will meet once every two years in an ordinary session to review progress in the agreed areas of cooperation. The Commission, when signed, will remain in force for a period of ten years; there after it shall be automatically renewed for a further ten-year period.

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