Monrovia — Foreign Affairs Minister-designate Sara Beysolow Nyanti has vowed to ensure the holistic rebranding of Liberia's foreign relations to attract economic, social and political benefits for the nation and its citizens.
According to her, relationship with traditional allies and international bodies will be strengthened to yield sustainable transformational actions to move the country forward.
Speaking when she appeared for confirmation before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday, February 5, 2024, Madam Nyanti recalled that despite the stereotypes and attacks during her stay in the UN; she managed to succeed by demonstrating and conducting military and humanitarian diplomacies.
She named strategic Foreign Service and relations, rebranding Liberia, safeguarding identity, creating an enabling environment for investment, capacity building, staff welfare, as her key vision.
She said though the challenges remain huge, she would use her experience while working for the international body to help ensure that Liberia remains a partner to foreign nations, international and regional bodies, instead of being a beggar.
Madam Nyanti stressed that her skills in negotiation would help assess and build relationships with countries to transform Liberia.
"To grow up in the UN is not about additional degrees; it is about the delivery of results or performance. I grew up in the UN because everywhere I was sent, I was promoted. The international community does not promote base on your tribe or who knows you."
"I come to the table not only with the education necessary for it (job) but with the experience, capacity and suitability for the role. I served and helped develop other countries; I helped to transform the agenda of the UN in other countries. I have done things that are being used by other countries around the world. I have done it for others, what do you think I will do for my own children, women, boys and girls in Liberia. I will do even more."
Madam Nyanti observed that though Liberia has traditional allies, the post-conflict nation remains ready to establish ties with other friendly nations in line with a change in global dynamics.
"Things continue to evolve. Liberia has traditional allies, but Liberia is also making new friends. Those friendships are based on the interest of the Liberian people. Liberia is aligned with the Liberian people and where Liberia will find means to develop this country, we will engage under my leadership when I am confirmed."
She said the interest of the Liberian people and withholding and protecting their rights will supersede any diplomatic negotiation or discussion she holds on behalf of the country.
She stressed that systems must be put in place to promote the interest of Liberians, instead of engaging into things that would reap no benefit to the nation.
"When we are taking part in a new movement or the Liberia-first movement, I will encourage President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to engage where we are respectful to our traditional allies to deepen those relationships or form new ones seeking the interest of the Liberian people."
Madam Nyanti pointed out that Liberian passports still remain in the hands of foreigners.
This, she said, would drive an analysis of the situation for a change of the country's passport.
She stated that Liberian passport will only be respected around the world if it is not sold to foreigners and others.
Reforming Foreign Service
Madam Nyanti maintained that when given the opportunity to serve her country, she will "work very hard to ensure that the many challenges faced by the Foreign Ministry" are addressed.
She promised to work assiduously with seasoned and experienced Ambassadors at home and abroad to identify solutions to streamline and reform the Foreign Service.
"I will work hard and diligently to strengthen Liberia's foreign relations with its strategic partners to include missions and international organizations. I don't want you to confirm me to be a manager or a minister. I want you to look at my experience and capacity to confirm me to be a transformational leader."
She added: "Transformation is not what the way we see things happened in the past in Liberia. It is about what's happening in the world out there and how to bring it home. Things have changed and Liberia must change with it."
Madam Nyanti indicated that those serving Liberia in other countries around the world must be supported by the government.
She maintained that Liberian Ambassadors and Diplomats serving at various embassies should not be begging for food or money to survive.
Speaking further, Madam Nyanti described corruption as one of the "biggest" problems in Liberia.
According to her, the country continues to heavily rely on international partners to fund its national budget.
She blamed the situation on the lack of adequate systems to promote accountability and transparency in government.
As a result of this, Madam Nyanti emphasized that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a critical role to play by convincing donors, mobilizing resources and partnering with other line ministries and agencies to guarantee improvement in the country's education, health and other sectors.
"We should demonstrate to our partners that we are able to handle things on our own in terms of accountability, transparency, accountability, rule of law, and making sure there is prosecution where necessary. We should build a resilient system and allow our systems to work."
She stressed the need for the promotion of regional integration from a multi-positive approach among nations within the region.
She observed that for some times now, the significance of the Mano River Union (MRU) has been overlooked by its member states.
Madam Nyanti said potential of the union to boost regional integration and maintaining a voice in ECOWAS has not been identified.
She said making the MRU more vibrant, effective and efficient by engaging with other member states will also help promote economic viability for the benefit of Liberia and its citizens.
She termed as unnecessary and a barrier strangulating commercial activities the increase in the number of security checkpoints in countries within the region.
"I am looking forward to how we work together in the MRU to strengthen our relationship from the bilateral and multilateral prospective."
She said Liberia should also regain its status as the oldest Republic by promoting the need for a stronger African Union (AU).
Madam Nyanti, however, emphasized that ascending to the highest position in the UN as a Liberian, was not due to acquiring academic degrees but competing with people around the world and as such, she remains fully prepared and ready to make the difference for Liberia.