The NEWS (Monrovia)

12 December 2012

Liberia: Ellen Calls for New Beginning

Liberia has attracted about U.S.$16 to 18 billion in foreign investment. A conversation with Liberian Minister of Finance Amara Konneh. ( Resource: Liberia: Government Ready to Work With Investors

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has accentuated the need to redefine the Liberian identity from conflicting narratives of the country's history to narratives of shared value and commitment to bring about a harmonious nation, united in diversity, culturally vibrant and grounded in an ecologically sustainable environment.

She said the national vision process was necessitated because the future is the realm of power and can be engineered through realistic planning and hard work collectively.

President Sirleaf noted that Vision 2030 is a tool to empower communities for a common future.

The Liberian leader told the gathering that the conference was not convened for Liberians to compete or discuss their differences, but to rekindle the commitment from all Liberians that development will not be sustainable unless it is broad-based and inclusive.

She said delegates are attending the National Vision Conference 2030 to see the gathering as an opportunity to chat a new course for the country's development roadmap.

The Liberian leader said the initiative seeks to draw a common agenda for socio-economic development of the country.

Speaking at the formal opening of the conference on Monday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told delegates that the three days national conference on Vision 2030 in Gbarnga is a product of thorough research and consultative process.

President Sirleaf indicated that the conference provides an insight for a clear vision through broad based participation that reflects the interest of all sectors of the country.

She said the conference in Gbarnga sends a clear message that Monrovia is not Liberia despite being the seat of power. The President reminded her citizens that the National Vision is not for a few elites, nor a luxury of few bright minds, but for all Liberians, irrespective of where they are because the future belongs to all.

The Liberian Chief Executive intoned the current national visioning exercise has roots with national conservation about social justice that began in the 1970s but was aborted by the 1980 coup.

She emphasized that the national vision is a daunting challenge, especially in the context of many aspirations made more difficult by frayed social fabric which has weakened a sense of community and there is a need to reclaim the future in a manner that reflects genius resilience and true character of Liberians through collectivity.

The Liberian leader indicated the initiative taken to draw a common agenda for socio-economic development of the country.

President Sirleaf expressed the hope that the conference will afford citizens the opportunity to have a say in the final draft of the national vision document.

She pointed out that the conference has created the space for Liberians to assemble and discuss the future of their country and initiate a clear implementation strategy.

President Sirleaf then paid tribute to Dr. Amos C. Sawyer , Chair of the Governance Commission and Minister Amara Konneh for their crucial roles played for the design and lunch of the vision including Dr. Alioune Sall of the African Future Institute for working assiduously with members of the national vision team.

The ongoing conference in Gbarnga has brought together delegates from across the country to climax a nationwide research and consultation primarily intended to make Liberia a middle income country by 2030.

Gauging views of ordinary citizens in Gbarnga about vision 2030, they lauded government for the initiative but stressed the need for the document to be legislated so that it would be legal and yield positive results for the country and its people in the future.

As a result of the ongoing visioning process in Gbarnga, several roads that were inaccessible for decades are being reopened to enhance the movement of vehicles, while electricity has partially returned to the city. However, it is remains uncertain whether this will be sustained after the conference.

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