British Ambassador Neil Bradley: "Private sector has a crucial role to play in delivering the pro-poor agenda."
The newly accredited British Ambassador to Liberia, Neil Bradley, has assured the Government of Liberia that he will do everything possible to encourage and facilitate UK companies to invest in the country.
However, to motivate inward investment, Ambassador Bradley says it will be important that Liberia tackles corruption and creates an attractive business environment with a well-regulated governance framework that is transparent and easy for businesses to navigate. The private sector, according to him, has a crucial role to play in delivering the pro-poor agenda.
Ambassador Bradley, whose statement was contained on the official Facebook page of the British Embassy in Monrovia, noted that development co-operation between governments, donors, international organizations, and civil society alone is not enough. By investing in Liberia, he said, businesses can provide sustainable jobs and skills development that ordinary Liberians need to live with dignity. He further said that "Respect for human rights underpins all that we do."
Ambassador Bradley, who also presented his Letter of Credence to President George M. Weah on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, said, "I arrive at a challenging time. Across the world, we are seeing the devastating impact of an invisible killer, COVID-19. As Liberia knows from its experience of bringing the Ebola outbreak under control, international cooperation is vital. We must not let COVID-19 reverse Liberia's hard-won development gains."
He said the UK is at the forefront of the global pandemic response. "We have pledged up to $950 million of UK Aid to tackle the pandemic globally. This includes $95 million for the World Health Organisation, $32 million for UNICEF, and $19 million for the World Food Programme," the British Ambassador asserted.
In pursuit of a vaccine, he said, the UK has committed up to $295 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the biggest donation by a country. "We have pledged $2 billion to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to vaccinate children against deadly infectious diseases, strengthen health systems and save lives, including in Liberia. Our $25 million-contribution to the African Union's COVID-19 Response Fund makes the UK the largest national donor. UK funds will support all 55 African Union member state countries, including Liberia. Our increased support to international partners such as the IMF and World Bank is providing countries including Liberia with the finance needed to develop their response to this unprecedented challenge."
He used the medium to commend the Ministry of Health for its focus on ensuring that, notwithstanding the pandemic, quality basic services are provided to all. Ambassador Bradley said UK programs are supporting public health messaging and providing social protection to those most affected in Liberia.
Said Ambassador Bradley: "By working together, we can tackle the spread of COVID-19, mitigate its impacts, support the poorest and most vulnerable and help all of us to bounce back and prosper.
"As we look to build back better, we must seize the opportunities for green economic growth and clean energy, while protecting our natural habitat. Liberia can be proud of its natural heritage, with some of the largest surviving tropical rain forests in West Africa, rich in biodiversity. We are pleased to support Liberia in protecting these valuable resources and building sustainable livelihoods for local communities. I look forward to strengthening our cooperation on these important issues in the run-up to next year's UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Change Conference and beyond. Our friendship began over 170 years ago. The bilateral ties between us remain as strong as ever. We are good friends and partners on the international stage, consistently supporting each other on issues of shared concern in international fora," Ambassador Bradley said.
"Our support for improved health and education outcomes includes funding the Global Partnership for Education, the Power of Nutrition program, and the ASCEND program on neglected tropical diseases. And we are working closely with Government to enable a more diversified economy, through sustainable forestry management and growth of the agricultural sector."
He added, "We are pleased to support the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to promote social cohesion, through our contribution to the Liberia Social Safety Net Program, which provides cash transfers for the most vulnerable households. Through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund, we are partnering with the Government to build a better road network to increase access to basic services and open-up markets to improve livelihoods.
According to him, respect for human rights underpins all that we do. Tackling violence against women and girls, in particular, is essential to defending human rights and reducing poverty. It is vital if we are to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and build fair, prosperous, and safe societies.
The British Ambassador also said that violence affects women and girls everywhere, at home in the UK and overseas. It has significant and lasting impacts, noting that it limits the potential of individuals, families, communities, and economies. It is preventable. Attitudes and behaviors can do and must change so that violence against women and girls is no longer accepted as normal. We commend Government and civil society organizations for their efforts to defeat the scourge of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia.