9 April 2018

Liberia: Weah Returns From State Visit to Ivory Coast, Ghana

President George Manneh Weah and his entourage have returned home after a four-day successful State visit to neighboring Ivory Coast and Ghana. Speaking to the press during his arrival at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County, President Weah termed the trip as "successful", saying major developmental issues were discussed.

"We went on a mission for the Liberian people and it was successful," the President said. President Weah said the visit to Ivory Coast was to rekindle and strengthen the relationship that already exists between the two countries.

"We spoke about a Joint Commission that would give us the opportunity to access agriculture and electricity," President reveals. He adds that "Liberia is the oldest State to gain growth and we need to tap into agriculture with Ivory Coast, as a case study". The issues of cross-border security and the need to enhance trade between both Liberia and Ivory Coast were discussed.

President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast expressed disquiet that enough has not been done to enhance trade between both countries. Mr. Ouattara informed President Weah that agriculture and energy are the backbone of the Ivorian economy, thus offering his government's willingness to share expertise in these sectors with Liberia.

He named Mali, Togo, Guinea, Ghana, and Burkina Faso as countries currently benefiting from Ivorian energy. President Weah was taken on a guided tour by the Vice President of Ivory Coast, Daniel Kablan Duncan to the facilities of the Energy Production Company of Ivory Coast (CIPREL) in an effort to see how best Liberia can benefit from that country's energy sector.

Liberia currently has 80 megawatts of energy being produced by the Mount Coffee Hydro, while the Ivorian energy company is producing between 500-800 megawatts.

While in the Ivory Coast, President Weah was gowned and named by traditional chiefs and elders. He was given the name "Poemay," meaning Star. Meanwhile, in Ghana, President Weah and his Ghanaian counterpart President Nana Akufo-Addo spoke about the longstanding partnership between Ghana and Liberia, dating as far back as Ghanaian colonial rule and the need to further strengthen that bond.

The Ghanaian President pledged his government's support towards the security sector amid UNMIL departure from Liberia. During his visits to both countries, President Weah had the opportunity to engage the press in separate press-stakeouts where he outlined the challenges of his country.

A technical team is expected to return to Abidjan soon to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at benefiting from the surplus of energy being produced by Ivory Coast.

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