The New Dawn (Monrovia)

27 February 2013

Liberia: Former U.S. President Eyes Energy Sector

Former US President, Bill Clinton has expressed interest in helping the country in its quest to restore energy, after seeing the need for the restoration of power. Mr. Clinton made his intention known when he held discussions with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her office during a brief visit to here Monday February 25.

He was responding to updates on challenges faced by the government in fully restoring Liberia to its pre-war status. The Liberian leader named electricity, farm-to-market roads and storage facilities for marketers as some of the challenges.

President Clinton said he agreed with the Liberian leader that unless the country restores full energy supply, it will be difficult to have a stable economy as improvement in the economy depends on cheap electricity. He spoke particularly of his interest in rural electricity, and promised to begin engaging friends and donor partners to help establish solar panel energy in rural Liberia.

Mr. Clinton also expressed support to government's initiative to offer micro loans to small and medium-sized businesses as an initiative that will have a positive impact on the Liberian economy. He said that empowering small businesses, as President Sirleaf's government is doing, will serve as a stimulant to economic empowerment.

A businesswoman, Mrs. Martha Henries, who presented a gift of locally made spices to the former U.S. President, told him of the need to help small businesses especially in providing storage facilities and at the same time creating a foreign market for their produce. The former President also promised to explore that aspect.

Earlier, President Sirleaf, in her update to Mr. Clinton, said the government was making progress in the areas mentioned, and she welcomed more support to make them a reality. She expressed appreciation for his support to Liberia, and said that his Global Initiative will go a long way in creating a viable society.

Besides economic empowerment, President Clinton was briefed by the National Coordinator of the Clinton Health Initiative, Dr. Moses Pewee, about its impact on ordinary Liberians, as it provides assistance in preventing HIV/AIDS, malaria and child mortality globally, including Liberia.

During his short visit, Mr. Clinton also held talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with senior members of the 153rd National Legislature led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. J. Alex Tyler.

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