President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has praised Sweden for its development partnership, a further manifestation of the long relationship between the two countries dating back to the operation of the Nimba mines by the Liberian-American-Swedish Minerals Company (LAMCO). The recent posting of an Ambassador with residence in Liberia had further strengthened the ties, she said, and Liberia would continue to promote the partnership.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the comments when she met with Mr. Georg Andrén, Assistant Director General for the Africa Division of the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency (SIDA), during a courtesy call at her Foreign Ministry office on Thursday, January 16. He was accompanied by Sweden's Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Sofia Strand.
President Sirleaf praised Sweden's role in Liberia's recovery, especially in the areas of women's empowerment, and hoped the partnership would take this area of concentration to another level to enable women to move from subsistence farming to farming on a larger scale. Sweden, through its Development Agency, supports projects on women's empowerment, agriculture and feeder road rehabilitation in Liberia.
The Liberian leader also spoke of the need for stronger technical and vocational institutions, and invited SIDA to work with the Ministries of Agriculture and Gender towards that end.
The Liberian President used the occasion to thank the Government and people of Sweden for their support to her national secretariat for the UN High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which she co-chaired, and hoped Sweden would continue to support the voice of the people as contained in the Panel's Report to the Secretary-General.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Andrén said that Sweden's renewed commitment to Liberia's development is based on responsible leadership exemplified by the Liberian President. The Swedish people have seen their taxes at work in Liberia, he said, and are encouraged by the level of development. Sweden promised to do more in support of the President's development agenda and, through SIDA, would remain a dependable partner.
Mr. Andrén said that his organization was equally ready to help in capacity building, and promised to help fund such activities, including the procurement of equipment. SIDA, he informed the President, was working with USAID and ExxonMobil in a tripartite arrangement for development in Zambia, Ethiopia and South Africa, and hoped a similar engagement would work in Liberia. The President promised to raise the subject during the upcoming Liberia-U.S. Partnership Dialogue slated for early February.
The now defunct Liberian-American-Swedish Minerals Company, referred to by President Sirleaf, was established in 1955 by American and Swedish investors who set up the first large-scale mining operation in Liberia following the discovery of iron ore in the Nimba Mountain range.