Heritage (Monrovia)

4 October 2013

Liberia: There Is Still Much to Do - Ellen Acknowledges

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says while her administration has made many advances, there is still much to do. According to President Johnson-Sirleaf, it cannot be expected that any country devastated by civil war should, 10 years on, be a fully functioning modern state.

In her article: Africa's Young Democracies, Moving On Up, which was published in The Washington Time, the Liberian leader recalled that twenty years ago, few African countries could be considered democracies, and where elections were held, many were merely showcases for long-entrenched strongmen pretending they had public support.

Said the Liberia and Africa first female President: "This was an age of coups and man-made disasters. Now, Africa is a continent dominated by young and genuine democracies with many, such as Liberia, emerging from a period of sustained conflict that severely weakened their fundamental institutions of state."

She continued: "Many of the real advances made across Africa in 20 years have been solidified during the past 10. Reconstructing countries and their state institutions cannot be achieved overnight, but clear progress is being made."

Citing the case of Liberia, she said the World Bank has highlighted her country success in the redevelopment of our deepwater port, the rapid growth of our road network and the increase in access to potable water.

"We have swiftly moved up the rankings of the World Bank's Doing Business index. The International Monetary Fund has also recognized our advances, saying foreign direct investment and legislative changes have supported private-sector development and strengthened governance," she mentioned.

President Johnson-Sirleaf, who is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, stated that key to Liberia's progress is "our investment in national security and, domestically, implementing the rule of law fairly, ensuring that no one is protected from prosecution because they are wealthy or powerful or because they are members of a particular profession."

"What is clear is that 10 years of peace, reconciliation and reform in Liberia, just as in Africa as a whole, have demonstrated measurable progress. There is much still to be done, and we welcome the involvement and support of international organizations willing to propose solutions and assist us with our task in the years ahead." She pointed out.

"There will, of course, be criticisms, and in this free and open society we are creating and nurturing, these will most certainly be listened to. This is a significant part of our future -- one where the oxygen of debate and fundamental fairness, perhaps more than our economic progress, is the real story," she among other things added.

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