President Dr. George Manneh Weah says technological innovation, coupled with its proper application is essential not only to solve socio-economic problems, but also to mitigate political challenges confronting Liberia and Africa as a whole.
Giving Africa's current place in the global community and evolving realities on the African continent, President Weah said he was more than excited for the expanded version of the theme of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which is "Advancing Africa's Development through people, technology and innovation".
In a statement Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at the Seventh Edition of TICAD, Dr. Weah said Liberia is behind in terms of the application of technology to impact its national development goals.
"This reality compels us to now pursue a strategy which will fast-track the integration of technology in all facets of our national life," the Liberian Chief Executive noted, adding "We have therefore, decided to accelerate our efforts in this area in order to achieve our development goals in the shortest possible time."
He said further "the energy capacity in Liberia is very low, and tends to impede all efforts to stimulate the Liberian economy.
Currently, we do not have the level of power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure to attract industries that can significantly impact the unemployment rate. To compound this problem, our road networks are poor and inadequate."
The Liberian Chief Executive said the sub-theme of the summit is a powerful proposition that renews his hope and the hope of his African counterparts for a brighter future for Africa.
Rallying support for this administration's development program, President Weah told his TICAD audience of more than 4,500 persons: "My Government has determined that there are a number of categories of physical assets that are critical and essential to the success of our Pro-Poor Agenda - ranging from roads, bridges and rail to telecommunication and high speed broadband internet connectivity; electricity for domestic and commercial consumption; machinery for mechanized food production; and institutions for vocational training and human skill development."
He indicated that the combined functionality of said assets will determine the quality of life for every citizen and every resident of Liberia.
Dr. Weah also indicated that Liberia's presence at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development is a testimony of the excellent relationship existing between African nations and Japan.
He acknowledged with gratitude the ongoing development cooperation with Japan, averring that his administration remains committed to further strengthening bilateral ties for the benefit of both countries and peoples.
The Liberian leader hailed Japan's contribution to Liberia, saying, "It would be remiss if, on this occasion, we did not reflect on some critical development and capacity-building programs that Japan has implemented, or is currently implementing, in Liberia through grant arrangements."
He named grant for the reconstruction and expansion of the Somalia Drive road in Monrovia; now referred to as the "Japan Freeway", food aid to Liberia, grant for the procurement and installation of a 10 megawatt generator to support the expansion of electricity in Monrovia and its environs; the grant for construction of the Liberia-Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and training opportunities granted to more than two hundred Liberians to pursue specialized studies at various Japanese colleges and universities, among others.
President Weah said TICAD-7 provides yet another opportunity to compare notes with fellow African leaders and global development partners, from Japan and other parts of the world, on the common good of mankind, particularly the fate of the African people.