4 February 2014

Liberia: Malawi, Liberia Sign Economic, Technical Cooperation

Photo: Travis Lupick/IPS
Malawi President Joyce Banda and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at a women's rights event (file photo)

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has ended a three-day State Visit to Malawi, where she and Malawian counterpart, Joyce Banda, witnessed the signing of an Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the two Governments, as a framework for consolidating the existing ties of economic advancement between both countries.

Liberia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, signed on behalf of the Liberian Government, while Malawi's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MP Ephraim Mganda Chiume, signed for the Malawian Government.

According to a dispatch from Lilongwe, under the Agreement, both Governments will cooperate in a number of areas, including agriculture and livestock; trade, industry and tourism; monetary and financial arrangement; development and utilization of natural resources; health, education, development and utilization of human resources; institutional development; irrigation and water development; gender mainstreaming, women empowerment and children and social welfare as well as natural conservation and environmental management, respectively.

At the invitation of President, Dr. Joyce Banda, the Liberian leader paid a three-day State Visit to Malawi from Saturday, February 1, to Monday, February 3, 2014.

At a State Banquet Saturday evening, President Banda said her compatriots were very excited about the Liberia leader's visit to Malawi. "It is with great joy that I welcome you on behalf of the Malawian people, my dear sister. Your visit is historic and memorable because you are the first female President to visit Malawi," President Banda said.

The Malawian leader pointed out that upon taking office nearly two years ago, she chose to visit Liberia first because, during her very difficult political days, President Sirleaf was one person she spoke to freely and that Madam Sirleaf had been her role model and mentor for a very long time.

In response, the Liberian leader, who was visiting Malawi for the first time in 20 years, thanked President Banda and the Malawian people for the great welcome received by her delegation, and extended greetings from the Liberian people, particularly the women and children of their respective countries, who are dear to the hearts of both Presidents.

Marveling at the changes that have taken place in Malawi, President Sirleaf said, "I see new roads, taller buildings, improved telecommunication, and increased elasticity. All this progress is a symbol and signal of a transforming Africa with increased annual growth rate."

She applauded President Banda for her courage to rise tall and meet the challenges confronting Malawi, and for overcoming them. On bilateral relations, the two Heads of State expressed appreciation for the excellent ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between their two countries and peoples, and reaffirmed their willingness to further deepen the relations.

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