31 December 2012

Liberia: A Look At Ellen's 2013 Development Agenda


President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf over the weekend delivered her New Year's message to the nation summarizing the progress that country has made over the year including 2012 and what her Administration intends to do in 2013--which is just 24 hours away.

The President reported that with the support government received from regional institutions and global partners, 2012 marked the ninth consecutive year of peace in a country that had experienced over a decade of war and destruction.

She however cautioned that "Our country is still fragile, yet the record of continuity in peace and democracy is clearly present.

She furthered that "...As we begin to use our natural resources better, reduce poverty and bring forth a more educated population, any risk of a reversal will diminish. Let us be grateful to God, to Liberia's friends and partners, and to our resilient Liberian people for the peace that we enjoy today!"

Still on the success of the year, the Liberian leader stated that 2012 saw the culmination of a long journey towards finding ourselves as a people. Liberians from all spheres of society and the Diaspora converged in the central city of Gbarnga, Bong County, at a three-day Vision 2030 National Conference and discussed the country's future.

This, she noted, provided the space for Liberians to unite in a sense of common identity, ideals and purpose, and to take control of our destiny.

Flipping the page to 2013 agenda, President Sirleaf said the government wants to see progress in the areas of reform included in the Agenda for Transformation, among them, land reform.

Land reform, she said, is critical because it is vital to everything we do in our mining and agriculture sectors, as well as in maintaining peace and tranquility. "We also hope to conclude reform of the concessions sector, to correct past mistakes," she added.

The President also hoped that 2013 will be a year of true patriotism and reconciliation that will accentuate the positive things that unite Liberians. "We will push ahead with our reconciliation program by implementing the Roadmap, which aims at accounting for the past, managing the present, and planning for the future."

Finally, but most importantly, the President said Government will place great emphasis on infrastructure, with power, ports and roads as our three areas of concentration.

These, in turn, will facilitate the education, health and agriculture sectors. We expect 2013 to be a good year of demonstrable progress, so that our people will see what this government is doing, what we've accomplished not just in Monrovia, but elsewhere in Liberia.

Indeed, President Sirleaf has presented a very great agenda for the coming year, as she has always done in previous years. Unquestionably, these areas of priority, when actually realized would take Liberia to another level.

No one needs to state that Liberians needs to be more patriotic and nationalistic that ever before if they should succeed in the rebuilding and advancement of their country.

Lack of these two values has seriously affected growth and development in Liberia, and 2013 could be the turning point to start a being real patriots for our country. Patriots will not vandalize and steal materials for infrastructure development; they will not do empty criticism and be blind to progress.

The Agenda for Transformation is as good as any document that promotes progress and unity, but it could just be another document as usual that stays on the bookshelf for decoration.

If the President means what she want to do, she should put into place the appropriate mechanism and funding required to make this dream kicks off and comes true.

Among all the priorities, the President said Government will place "great emphasis on infrastructure, with power, ports and roads as our three areas of concentration."

It is not hidden that the infrastructure deficit stands as a big challenge to the economic and social development of Liberia. Our people need more roads, well functioning ports, health centers and educational facilities, not to even mention electricity.

The provision of electricity and construction of more quality (paved) roads will unquestionably serve as a big boost in moving our country forward. What the government itself needs to do is to be committed to what the President has announced.

We believe that when everyone works hard and play their roles properly--both the government and civil society and the Liberian population in general--by the end of 2013, we would have a lot to catalogue as achievements than in 2012.

That's why we at The Informer will not hesitate to promote such agenda and to hold the President and her officials accountable, especially if they do not conduct the affairs of the government properly to achieve these goals.

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