5 July 2018

Liberia: Amb. Elder Challenges Pres. Weah to Address Country's Economic Problems

US Ambassador Christine Elder

United States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, says Liberia's economic challenge remains vital to the livelihood of Liberians, and therefore the George Weah Administration should see it as an urgent need to address.

Amb. Elder posed the challenge to President Weah on July 4, 2018, during the observance of her country's 242nd Independence Anniversary at the embassy on Benson Street, Central Monrovia.

In her independence day message that basically centered on relations between Liberia and the United States, the female Diplomat said growing the economy is the only sustainable path to lifting the people out of poverty, acknowledging that the US shares the Liberian Government's sense of urgency to move the country forward in its development.

As some of the solutions to improve the crumbling economy affected by a depreciating currency, the Ambassador stressed the need for the Liberian government to introduce broad reforms and take bold steps to inhibit (restrain) corruption in order to transform the business climate to attract domestic, regional and foreign investment, to grow the economy and to seek further fiscal and monetary stability.

She added, "Successful economies in Africa have mastered a balancing act that creates a combination of laws and incentives that deepen the relationship with the companies that are cornerstones of their economies and attract new businesses, while providing governments much needed revenues and creating domestic jobs."

Beyond that, Amb. Elder suggested the way forward for the government to improve the economy; she also cited some instances that portray patriotism and commitment to duty.

She said while aboard a flight in recent time, she looked at her passport and thought how lucky she was to possess it and to have the privilege of standing before Liberians to represent her country.

She added that flipping through the passport, she came across quotes on the pages; one of which was written by a prominent African-American scholar, Dr. Anna Haywood Cooper. In Anna's writing that concerns freedom, Amb. Elder quoted, "The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, or the cause of a party or a class -- it is the cause of human kind, the very birthright of humanity."

Ambassador Elder said July 4th is a day of reflection for Americans -- reflection on the often difficult and costly road to attain freedom, to protect and defend freedom and to examine their understanding of freedom. Interestingly, she said, Dr. Cooper died at the age of 105, in 1964, the same year Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Drawing on the late Dr. Cooper's profound understanding and of what freedom is, Ambassador Elder noted that, "viewing freedom in a slightly broader sense, in many ways it defines the underlying goals of my country's development agenda with Liberia."

She said viewing freedom in many ways, the United States thought to relate to Liberia by assisting to improve healthcare and education, contribute to infrastructure, elections, electricity and internet connectivity.

Speaking of freedom, she used the occasion to also praise the House of Representatives for passing an act to decriminalize freedom of speech, through a bill that was sent forward by President George M. Weah.

In President George Weah's congratulatory message to the government and people of the United States and their President, Donald J. Trump, he conceded that the US has been instrumental in enhancing equality, justice, and liberty for all Liberians.

Weah said he looks forward to another get together of Liberians and people of the United States under the 'Partnership Dialogue' to share bilateral views and thoughts that will be beneficial to the two countries.

He commended the US for its support to Liberian security sector reform, elections and other human development activities. He said with such support, the election that led him to power was held and a peaceful transition took place.

Many high profiles personalities, among them other ambassadors accredited to Liberia, including government officials, attended yesterday's ceremony in Monrovia.

The event was colored by vocal renditions of the Liberian and American national anthems by Liberian and American staff of the US Embassy, respectively. The Marine Guard Detachment of the US Embassy also "presented the colors", a ceremony to honor the American flag.

Authors

Joaquin M. Sendolo

Liberia

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