2 May 2013

West Africa: We Can't Obtain Growth Unless...

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 told the delegation of the just ended Mano River Union (MRU) meeting that the sub region cannot obtain the maximum potential of growth unless it tackles the issue of infrastructure.

She said investing "heavily" in the energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure will promote robust growth across the sectors of the sub region's economy, stressing, "This will trigger an increase in job creation for our people."

"Today, through our collective leadership, our economies are showing significant growth. Effective use of our natural resources in mining, in agriculture, and petroleum potential provides the basis for higher growth. Yet, greater efforts will be required to expand the private sector. These are now under way in all of our countries. However, we cannot obtain the maximum potential of growth unless we tackle the issue of infrastructure."

Speaking further, the Liberian leader said she has made a commitment to President Donald Kaberuka to chair the High-Level Panel that will work on mobilizing the African Development Bank's 13th Replenishment. She said the major objective of this is to support the initiative of the Mano River Union and fragile States.

She noted that the importance of this regional approach will enable the Union formulates action programs to achieve the economies of scales that will attract private capital and investment. On the issue of peace, President Johnson-Sirleaf pointed out the need to strengthen the peace the region enjoys today is even more urgent in the face of high unemployment rates, particularly among the youthful populations.

"The key, therefore, is not only to strengthen collaboration among our national defense and security systems, but also to invest heavily in energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure. This will promote robust growth across the sectors of our subregional economy and trigger an increase in job creation for our people," she stated.

"We commend our ECOWAS Chairman, President Alassane Ouattara, for his continuing efforts to maintain peace beyond our borders. Our challenge now is to take action based upon the report that will be made to us, as a result of yesterday's Ministerial Council Meeting," she added.

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