The United States of America, through its embassy accredited near Monrovia, has disclosed another financial assistance to Liberia; this time, to the tone of US$205 million.
The U.S. government announced the financial aid last Tuesday at a program marking the celebration of its 236th Independence in Monrovia.
According to the Chargé d’Affaires, Ambassador Michael Arietti, the money will go towards development assistance; strengthening the security sector, especially the Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police and other critical areas of national concerns.
“We are active in supporting Liberia’s efforts in reforming and strengthening the education and health sectors so that Liberians can have high quality schools and medical treatment. We support efforts to build human capacity by expanding training opportunities in many sectors,” Chargé d’Affaires Arietti said. “We seek to improve governance by improving the efficiency and accountability of government institutions. We have programs to support civil society, the rule of law and other underlying elements of the democratic process,”
The U.S. diplomat stressed the need to improve the private sector of the country; adding, “We are encouraging growth of the private sector, especially in agriculture.”
He then disclosed plans for Washington and Monrovia to expand on what he considered “people-to-people” contacts through the Peace Corps and academic exchange programs.
The U.S. envoy praised President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for underlining cardinal points on behalf of the people of Liberia while in the U.S. He named some of those points as the rebuilding of infrastructure and institutions and the need to focus on the intangibles that are critical to development – that is changing minds and attitudes so that Liberians can see that unity, reconciliation, love of country and work ethics remain a necessary part of building a nation such as Liberia is also important.
For her part, President Johnson Sirleaf lauded the United States government for its role played in the restoration of peace and democracy in Liberia; stressing that “no other friend is true to Liberia than the U.S.”
The Liberian leader called for accountability at all levels in the country, including nongovernmental organizations and the private sector.
The President said, “At the ‘Frontiers in Development’ forum in Washington DC, I stated that we are exercising greater scrutiny in how public resources are used to avoid the kind of irresponsible management of public finance which got us into debt. However, we expect our partners to exercise the same disciplines.
All aid monies spent by partners, including the United States, here, in Liberia or on Liberia related projects get counted for as foreign aid. It is therefore in our interest to get the best value of the dollar. It is in our interest to see that our partners – bilateral, NGOs – are themselves transparent in what they spend and how.”
The President then called on partners to ensure that their activities are geared towards improving the system in order to collectively institute projects that are sustainable.
Meanwhile, the U.S. declaration of independence, according to Chargé d’Affaires Arietti, had one underlining goal; that every citizen enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He intoned that the U.S. is a nation that takes pride in its diversity.