The New Dawn (Monrovia)

22 November 2012

Liberia: President Commends Africa Governance Initiative

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed delight at the support and interventions of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) in working with several government ministries and agencies to enhance efficiency and productivity.

The President said that through the support and interventions of AGI, there has been greater efficiency at the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, as well as in other ministries and agencies, and that the value added from AGI was, indeed, significant.

President Sirleaf made the assertion during a press stakeout in the foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when she welcomed former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to Liberia. Mr. Blair, in his capacity as Patron of AGI, is making his second visit to Liberia this year to assess its work here. He last visited in March.

The President said that as the government will shortly launch the "Agenda for Transformation" and the "Reconciliation Roadmap," working with the AGI they have identified priorities within those areas for successful implementation.

"AGI and the team that's here will be working with us so we will accelerate our efforts to be able to bring more development in keeping with that agenda," President Sirleaf said.

She added, "We want to say to Prime Minister Blair how pleased we are that AGI and the team continues to work with us, and continues to make us more efficient and more resulting in what we do."

In response, Mr. Blair commended President Sirleaf and her government for the progress being made on the delivery of the government's agenda, especially on priority infrastructure items such as roads, power and ports.

He, however, warned that the infrastructure will take time to build, and emphasized the importance of agreeing a clear set of priorities, resourcing them through the National Budget, and making sure they are implemented and communicated.

"The plans we were going through this morning are specific and were absolutely directed at the things that will change the ability of the country to reach the next level of development," Mr. Blair stated, pledging his organization's full support.

Mr. Blair noted that for President Sirleaf, the single most important thing is Liberia and its people, and the AGI felt very privileged to be able to support her in the vision that she has set out and the endeavor she's implementing.

AGI is a non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom that works to bridge the gaps between vision and implementation. AGI works with governments across Africa to strengthen their capacity, including Guinea and Sierra Leone.

In Liberia, AGI works with various ministries and other government institutions to strengthen systems and build capacity for the implementation of the government's priorities, including the forthcoming Agenda for Transformation.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Blair paid a courtesy call on the leadership of the 53rd National Legislature, where he was hosted by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honorable Alex Tyler.

Mr. Blair emphasized the valuable contribution that the Legislative Branch can make to the government's delivery agenda, and expressed his support for attempts to build legislative capacity.

Mr. Blair's visit to Liberia included a tour of the Freeport of Monrovia as guest of the National Port Authority. He was met by its Managing Director, Matilda Parker, and the Managing Director of APM Terminals, Brian Fuggle, at a short ceremony at the Marginal Wharf, which is being rebuilt under a concession agreement. From Liberia, Mr. Blair will continue to Guinea and Nigeria.

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