6 February 2013

Liberia: EU/UN Officials Pledge Support to Ellen

A member of the European Commission for Development, on a recent visit to Liberia, said he was impressed with the level of transformation taking place in the country under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

According to an Executive Mansion release, Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who was in the country to attend the Third Meeting of the UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, told President Sirleaf, in a meeting on Thursday, January 31, that the level of development has even motivated the European Union (EU) to do more for Liberia's infrastructural transformation.

"Liberia, under the leadership of President Sirleaf, has demonstrated high political will matched by action to properly use EU funding, and therefore deserves more support in line with her Government's Agenda for Transformation," Commissioner Piebalgs said.

He added: "With the level of transformation you have initiated since your ascendency, coupled with our likeness with how you have spent our development funds in your country, the EU will support your Agenda for Transformation through the life span of this government."

The government, in December 2012, launched the five-year Agenda for Transformation that has as its priorities people, ports, energy and roads. President Sirleaf informed Commissioner Piebalgs of the urgent need to rehabilitate Liberia's energy sector, which the two agreed is the bedrock for economic transformation.

She said that with the resuscitation of the Mount Coffee Hydro, Liberia will have made major progress on energy restoration, thereby reducing cost per kilowatt hour from 52 cents to between 20 to 24 cents. The government has set Christmas Day 2015 as the date for the official switching on of energy produced from Mount Coffee.

The President also met separately, the same day, with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Carlos Lopez, who pledged the Commission's technical support to Liberia in the area of economic data processing for use in its economic revitalization.

Mr. Lopez informed President Sirleaf that the ECA is finalizing plans to open an office and carry out recruitment for economic data collection across Africa, including Liberia, which would boost government's job creation drive.

He pointed out that the African Union Commission, through its Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has informed the UN of its support for the plan, and welcomed it on behalf of the AU.

He promised to work with the Ministry of Finance in making this a reality, as economic data collection in an emerging stable economy like Liberia cannot be overemphasized.

"The collection of data," Mr. Lopez stated, "will also attempt to trace sources of funding in the West for African countries for the benefit of their respective peoples." He made reference to francophone countries that have up to US$20 billion in French banks.

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