24 January 2014

Liberia: On Margins of 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, President Sirleaf Attends Major Events, Holds Bilateral Meetings On Enhancing Liberia's Development Process

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has held several bilateral meetings and participated in a number of prestigious international events on the margins of the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

According to a dispatch from Davos, on Wednesday, January 22, before delivering her special address, alongside the President of the Republic of Korea, during the opening plenary session at the 2014 Forum, the Liberian President participated in an Industry Partners Session entitled "Responsible Mineral Development Beyond 2013." The Responsible Mineral Development Initiative (RMDI) aims to help countries develop their mineral resources in a socially and economically responsible manner. It outlines a framework to create and maintain trust and understanding between stakeholders from government, the private sector, civil society and communities. The focus of the RMDI session in Davos was to reach an agreement, amongst stakeholders, on a roadmap for the design and implementation of initiatives across the continent in 2014. Ghana's President, John Mahama and Guinea's President Alpha Conde, were among African leaders attending the session.

Later Wednesday, President Sirleaf attended a reception hosted by her alma mater, Harvard University; a private reception, followed by a private dinner, hosted by Professor Klaus Schwab - the founder of the World Economic Forum - and his wife, in honor of Heads of State and Government, international organizations, co-chairs, members of the Foundation Board, International Business Council and Strategic Partners.

On Thursday, January 23, the President and members of her delegation, which included the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Mr. Patrick Sendolo, and the President's Senior Economic Advisor, Dr. Mounir Siaplay, participated in another Industry Partners Session entitled "Mining and Infrastructure Collaboration Imperative". The cross-industry session was aimed at providing an opportunity to share views on new models for infrastructure in mining, identify common grounds for collaboration and develop ideas to address the issues together.

The Liberian leader also designated Minister Sendolo and Advisor Siaplay to represent Liberia at the Africa-Japan Roundtable on TICAD Follow-up. This private breakfast session was a gathering of African Heads of State and Ministers, heads of international organizations and business leaders for discussions to identify the challenges so far and to redefine the role of Japan in Africa's development.

On the same day, President Sirleaf and delegation also participated in the United States Government's Power Africa and Trade Leaders meeting, which aimed at following up with the US Government on the power and trade initiative announced by President Barack Obama in South Africa during his four-nation African tour in 2013. She later participated in the Germany Meets Africa Forum where President Paul Kagame of Rwanda delivered the keynote address. The Germany Meets Africa Program seeks to forge a stronger development and investment partnership with the African continent, aimed at promoting economic growth, fostering development and creating jobs for the people.

Continuing her activities in Davos, the Liberian President had an extraordinary interactive session with a group of young people from all parts of the world known as the Global Shapers. The Global Shapers Community is a network of Hubs developed and led by young people between 20 and 30 years of age who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. The Shapers are highly motivated individuals who are selected on the basis of their achievements, leadership potential and commitment to make a difference. Through the Global Shapers Community, Shapers are provided with opportunities to connect with the worldwide network of Global Shapers, to collaborate with other World Economic Forum members and constituents and to represent the voice of youth within the World Economic Forum Communities.

During the interaction with the President, among the issues addressed were: the impact of women's leadership in the world and Africa in particular; economic and political integration of the African continent; youth and conflict in the world and Africa in particular; infrastructural development; the fight against corruption; and the preparation of young women and girls for future leadership roles.

President Sirleaf also attended a reception hosted by her alma mater, Harvard University. Her activities also included bilateral discussions and meetings with international actors and stakeholders, among them, Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum; philanthropist George Soros of the Soros Foundation; as well as executives of Glencore, ArcelorMittal and Newmont International.

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