10 December 2012

Liberia: Visioning Confab Opens

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

High government and private sector officials are meeting in Gbarnga, Bong County, to discuss a new national visioning strategy designed to transform Liberia from the state of economic collapse to a strong recovery and improve the lives of ordinary citizens.

Organizers say the Gbarnga Conference under the theme, "Consolidating citizen-centered development," is one of the home-grown initiatives seeking to ensure that Liberia becomes a middle income country by 2030.

They say the conference is aimed at setting Liberia on a trajectory to becoming an inclusive middle income country by the year 2030 and to drastically reduce poverty levels.

The vision for wealth creation dubbed as Liberia RISING 2030 succeeds the previous development strategy known as Lift Liberia or the Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Similar to Liberia's PRS, Liberia RISING 2030 embraces a strategy of broad participation and inclusive growth, allowing Liberia to build the human resource capacity needed while forging a stronger sense of citizenship, national cohesion and responsive governance, a lengthy statement release by conference organizers said.

The goal is also to develop and commit to a vision and strategy for reaching middle income status by 2030. The vision will serve as a roadmap for addressing the social, political and economic challenges that confront Liberia on its path towards economic growth and wealth creation.

According to organizers of the conference, the proposed 18-year development plan aims to among other things transform Liberia into a middle-income country by the year 2030 leaving no Liberian behind; make public institutions and governing systems efficient, responsive and accountable and ensure all Liberians have equal protection, under the law, regardless of ethnicity, affiliation or socio-economic background.

The Vision 2030 provides Liberia a unique opportunity for national course correction as the country primes for sustainable peace and development. The effort in formulating Vision 2030 applauds the aspirations pursued by previous initiatives and their drivers.

While learning from past attempts, according to conference organizers, Vision 2030 seeks to build Liberia anew for succeeding generations, recognizing fully the challenges and constraints imposed by the past, while taking advantage of the opportunities offered within current domestic and international space and the possibilities discernible for the future.

In building anew, they said the Vision 2030 seeks to strengthen the nexus among peace, democracy and development. To guide the process of formulating a national vision, this effort has adapted an approach created by the African Futures Institute for which AFI has become renowned. The technical support of the Africa Futures Institute (AFI), specifically of its head, Dr. Alioune Sall has been indispensable.

Process-wise, this national visioning exercise has involved the broad-based participation of Liberians at regional and local levels of governance and in the Diaspora. Participants in consultations included civil society organizations, community leaders, farmers, traditional leaders, trade unions, Liberia business entrepreneurs, students and professional groups, women and youth associations, Faith based organizations among others.

They said this National Vision, Liberia Rising 2030, like previous initiatives, embodies the aspirational but transcends previous initiatives by being methodologically grounded in scientific knowledge. Like previous initiatives, it is also inspired by our national leader; but unlike previous initiatives, it is owned by the Liberian people and its implementation will be driven by broad segments of the Liberian people serving as agents of change.

It is hoped that the Vision 2030 will open up new vistas for Liberia to formulate policies and programs to advance reconciliation and entrench peace, attain economic growth and development, claim an inclusive cultural heritage, reshape its social institutions and deepen its processes of democratization. This is how Liberia can chart its own course to a desirable and attainable future.

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