13 July 2018

Liberia: Government Holds Political Dialogue With European Union

Monrovia — As part of efforts to create strong ties between the government of Liberia and its development partners, a political dialogue between the government of Liberia and the European Union was held Thursday, July 12, 2018 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The event, which is the sixth EU-Liberia political Dialogue, highlighted the government's legislative agenda, human rights issues, emerging challenges of Brexit, the Pro-Poor Agenda for prosperity and development, and the state of the economy as well as the 2018/2019 national budget.

The dialogue also highlighted creating a condition for economic growth, sustainable exploitation of national resources and several other issues.

The EU team was headed by the Ambassador Helena Cave, while the Liberian delegation was led by Gbehzongar Findley, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting, the two sides signed a US$4 million grant to strengthen the forestry sector in the country.

The US$4 million grant is for capacity building support. It is also intended for Liberia to have its 'flag lesson'.

Flag lesson is a certificate when obtain will ensure Liberia independently certificate its exported timbers to become valued on the European market.

Speaking before the signing of the grant, the EU Head said the grant was a result of a long meeting held between with Liberia about the forestry sector.

"We currently have trade agreement with Liberia and one of the aims is to assist the country. Liberia will see the impact when they export certified high valuable wood to the EU," said Madam Cave.

Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs praised the EU delegation for their support adding that the government of Liberia will continue to have discussions with the EU to improve the lives of the ordinary people.

"His Excellency President George Manneh Weah is committed to improving the lives of the Liberian people and this platform sets the basis for Liberia and EU to work together," Minister Findley said.

Samuel Tweah, Minister of the Ministry Finance and Development Planning, added that the government is looking forward to seeing the impact of the grant, which he said will help move the country macroeconomy in the right direction.

"All of these measures are aim toward the medium term and long-term restoration of the Liberians economy," MFDP Boss said, adding that the country depends on EU as one of its strongest partners.

"The challenges the Liberian economy is faced with today are domestic export comparativeness and domestic productive comparativeness; that is a long-term solution to our economy," Minister Tweah said.

"These kinds of development from our partners like the EU, World Bank and all our partners help us to ensure private sector viability and this is the goal of our new development plan."

He said the private sector needs to own the forestry space. When that happens, the Minister of MFDP says, it will create jobs in the country.

Tweah furthers disclosed that there are so many resources in the country, but nothing is done for the economy to benefit from the resources.

Mike C. Doryen, Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), said the grant is a result of a trade agreement between Liberia and the EU.

"This money is to support some provision of that trade agreement to strengthen the forestry sector," Doryen said.

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