The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Ellen Launches Vision 2030

Photo: Liberia Governmnet
Cross section of delegates at the conference.

The city of Gbarnga in Bong County is all set this morning as the nation witnesses a major development initiative as President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is expected to launch the much-talked about Vision 2030 at the Administrative Building.Already, reports from the county said that there is high enthusiasm for the launch of this significant development package as people have begun arriving, while others are expected to arrive this morning to participate or witness this historic-making event.

The architects who led the process including Minister Amara Konneh, Minister of Finance and Dr. Amos Sawyer, Chairman of the Governance Commission (GC) under the leadership of President Sirleaf envisaged a novel paradigm shaped in the social, economic and political dynamism of the country.

The framework in the national vision dubbed Liberia RISING 2030 which is being launched today lays out a set of programs for building a reconciled and unified nation with citizens who have a strong sense of shared identity and community; a commitment to ethical governance, and a sense of ownership and partnership with government in pursuit of national development goals rather than a sense of being powerless petitioners and providential beneficiaries. Building upon current governance reforms, it will contain programs for the consolidation of institutions of transparent, accountable, just and democratic governance.

The vision which is Liberia's transformational vision is to become by 2030, a middle income country capable of meeting and sustaining its own development aspirations, a country characterized by a high and improved standard of living for its population measured by per capita income of between US$1000 and US$2000, from its current per capita income of $280.00 and with average annual growth rate of 12 percent to 18 percent. This growth is to be driven by a robust private sector with sustained high levels of investment.

SEE Full Statement below:

With an economy on an upward swing, democratic political institutions established and taking root, and an opportunity to forge greater social cohesion, Liberia is now poised to embark on the path to become a middle income nation by 2030.

Endowed with considerable natural resources, embracing a strategy of inclusive participation and inclusive growth with equity, the Liberian government and people are now in a position to focus a transformational vision for attaining middle income status and developing not only the required human resource capacity to attain such status but also developing a strong sense of citizenship, cohesion and ethical governance, regionalism and global partnership appropriate for a RISING LIBERIA

Therefore, the framework in the national vision dubbed Liberia RISING 2030 is about to be launched in central Liberia by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the brainchild of the vision. The architects who led the process including Minister Amara Konneh, Minister of Finance and Dr. Amos Sawyer, Chairman of the Governance Commission (GC) under the leadership of President Sirleaf envisaged a novel paradigm shaped in the social, economic and political dynamism of the country.

The architects designed an inclusive process that brought on board political leaders, young people and Liberians in all fifteen counties. With the recent completion of the nationwide consultations, a great deal of people has embraced the idea which is for the most part geared towards pondering over where have we come from as a nation; where do we want to go; and how do we get there? These fundamental questions have been answered in different forms and manners reflecting diverse viewpoints. But one thing for sure is that most people spoke of the need for the availability of basic necessities, improved road conditions, advance healthcare delivery system, quality education and suitable living environment for everyone.

For far too long national development policies have usually emerged from the powers that be and marketed to the entire population, but no meaningful impact is made. But the architects of the national vision 2030, including Minister Amara Konneh and Dr. Amos Sawyer did campaign aggressively to make sure that tendency does not affect the process and its outcome. President Sirleaf and her visionaries in Mr. Konneh and Dr. Sawyer are also making sure this vision is sustained in order to obtain a holistic growth and development in Liberia.

They are also spearheading a vision for Liberia in which everything is inclusive and reflective of the people's aspirations. In fact, prior to the formulation of a long term policy document, the Government reviewed all prior guiding principles so as to ascertain that this vision 2030 policy is not obsolete and also to avoid repetition of strategy that existed without any significant impact. The Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs under the dynamic leadership of Minister Konneh and Dr. Sawyer of GC led an effort to establish the National Visioning Steering Committee that was charged with the responsibility to take the initiative to the people across the country.

The people of Liberia desire a democratic country with a vibrant traditional culture and a sustainable economy. A prosperous society with sufficient food, shelter, clothing and security for its entire people; all towns and villages have access to adequate and appropriate roads, transport, electricity and communications. All Liberians are to be literate, skilled and participating in the economic, social and political life of the Nation. Liberians desire increased productivity in all sectors, creating job opportunities for all. Liberians deserve improved living standards with services and income fairly distributed. There is need for stable prices for goods and services with sound and sustainable management of natural resources. Liberia is to be a Nation justly applying the Rule of Law and managing the economy and finances efficiently and transparently where the government, private sector, civil society and community leaders are fully responsible and accountable to the people.

Following years of suffering, a difficult struggle and the loss of many lives Liberia today finds itself at crossroads: it can stay the course, remaining faithful to its recovery and reconstruction agenda and transition into a longer term agenda for lasting peace, stability and sustainable development as stated above, or it could stall on the course of recovery or stray from that course and possibly relapse to conflict. Since 2006, the Government and people of Liberia, with the support of regional and international partners, have been able to put in place a reform program, first through the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy and then through the Poverty Reduction Strategy that has borne considerable fruits in establishing institutions and processes that are consolidating peace and security, revitalizing the economy, entrenching institutions of good governance and rule of law and reconstructing the nation's social and physical infrastructures for the delivery of basic public goods and services.

In pursuing the vision of becoming a middle income nation with a unified, patriotic and efficacious people embedded in West Africa, the Liberian government and people intend to benefit from the lessons of successes and failures of the past. They are mindful of the fact that the attainment of high growth rates by themselves does not spawn development, having experienced a period of sustained growth during the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s without attaining corresponding levels of development. The importance of ending marginalization and inequity by creating equality of access to opportunities cannot be overstated.

Similarly, the government and people of Liberia are conscious of the fact that economic development (hardware) can only be sustained when there is corresponding advancement in political and social development (software). Only a nation that is reconciled unto itself, citizens that see each other as equals and a people with a sense of shared community can be the drivers and sustainers of development. These are among the lessons learned from Liberia's bitter past.

Since the ending of the civil war, Liberians have seen what they have been able to achieve within a few short years of peace and can now imagine the enormous strides they are capable of making into the future when their collective strengths and talents are brought to bear on their material endowments in an environment of peace and security, a spirit of reconciliation, and a sense of nationhood.

President Sirleaf, in close association with leaders of political parties, civil society and religious faiths will on Monday, December 10, 2030 in Gbarnga, Bong County. With the launching amidst the usual pomp and pageantry, the Government and people of Liberia who are the prime movers are hereby setting out ambitious goals for their future and charting the path to the attainment of these goals.

The National Vision lays out a set of programs for building a reconciled and unified nation with citizens who have a strong sense of shared identity and community, a commitment to ethical governance, and a sense of ownership and partnership with government in pursuit of national development goals rather than a sense of being powerless petitioners and providential beneficiaries. Building upon current governance reforms, it will contain programs for the consolidation of institutions of transparent, accountable, just and democratic governance.

Also, the National Vision 2030 will chart Liberia's long term growth and development trajectory, providing medium and long term planning frameworks, for example the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) to guide public investment programs, ensure inclusive growth with equity designed to reduce marginalization and build human, social and physical capital.

As can be seen, the National Vision 2030 will chart a course for addressing the social, political and economic challenges that confront Liberia in its quest to be transformed to a medium income nation. As a national project for the transformation of Liberia over 20 years, Vision seeks to transcend partisanship, regional and sectional divisions, and sectarian interests. Although designed and implemented under the leadership of the Government of Liberia, it will only succeed if all Liberians take ownership of it and elevate it to a national platform that is non-partisan and all-inclusive.

Encompassing, as it does, the collective vision and aspirations of the Liberian people of the next 20 years, the National Vision 2030 belongs to the Liberian people. It defines agreed parameters for political, economic and social development within which the government and people of Liberia will undertake developmental initiatives no matter who becomes President of Liberia and which party gains ascendancy as the ruling party.

BACKGROUND

For close to a quarter-century since 1979, Liberia was in the throes of violent conflicts that included successive periods of intermittent violence and a civil war. During a considerable part of this tragic period, Liberia was essentially the epicenter of a wider theatre of conflict that spanned the Mano River basin area of southeastern Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The violent conflicts which engulfed Liberia have been attributed principally to governance breakdowns which, in turn, have been attributed to leadership flaws but especially to a sustained structure of inequality and inequity, marginalization and flawed institutions of government which were incapable of addressing grievances and responding satisfactorily to the needs and aspirations of broad sectors of the Liberian people over time. Many of the institutional flaws in governance were as old as the Liberian state.

Challenges of oligarchic or single-party rule, over-centralization and concentration of power and a social system characterized by a divide that sheltered two distinct and unequal groups of citizens undergirded governance arrangements in Liberia for more than a century. Efforts to reform the system did not keep pace with the demands for inclusion. If ever there is a silver lining to be found in the tragic consequences of Liberia's violent breakdowns, it must be the opportunity presented by the tragedy to build anew.

Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Accra in 2003, Liberia has been progressing incrementally on the road to recovery and reconstruction. With the support of UNMIL, it has been able to maintain an environment of peace and security and within it, hold democratic elections and embark upon 5 years of national recovery and reconstruction that started first with a 150 day action plan followed by a year-long Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy (IPRS) and a three-year Poverty Reduction Strategy (2008-2011). Beyond the PRS, the Government of Liberia is to embark upon a growth strategy that capitalizes on potential growth "corridors" to ensure rapid, sustainable and shared growth in all regions of Liberia. A long-term capacity development strategy is also being developed to complement the growth strategy across the country.

The National Visioning Exercise set the framework for long term planning for Liberia. It involved delineating thematic areas with clear benchmarks to be achieved within designated timeframes during the visioning period of 20 years. Medium term plans will be compatibly couched within it to translate the vision into goals and action plans. In this respect, Liberia's post-HIPC investment plan, its Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), Budget Framework, Economic Growth Strategy and other critical development instruments and tools as well as its strategy for civic education, reconciliation and healing and political governance among others, will be compatibly linked to the 20-year National Vision, LIBERIA RISING.

ASPIRATIONS, GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF VISION 2030

Liberia's transformational vision is to become by 2030, a middle income country capable of meeting and sustaining its own development aspirations, a country characterized by a high and improved standard of living for its population measured by per capita income of between US$1000 and US$2000, from its current per capita income of $280.00 and with average annual growth rate of 12% to 18%. This growth is to be driven by a robust private sector with sustained high levels of investment. It is a vision of a Liberia that is able to reestablish and sustain a leadership role in the West African sub-region and the African region generally and become a significant player in the global economic and political arena.

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National Vision 2030 Confab Under Way

Cross section of delegates at the conference.

Officials of government and other stakeholders are meeting in the central Liberian town of Gbarnga to discuss Liberia's 18-year development plan, dubbed Vision 2030, which seeks to ... Read more »