U.S. Senator Edward Markey, at the head of a 3-member Congressional Delegation from the United States, paid a visit to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Thursday, August 11, expressing his country’s intention to help “build a 21st Century economy” in Liberia.
“We have come as partners and friends to Liberia and to say how we intend to work with you and Liberians to build a 21st Century economy here. Helping you build a strong healthcare system after the devastating Ebola crisis is also critical to U.S.-Liberia relationship,” Congressman Markey said.
Welcoming the visiting delegation, President Sirleaf expressed gratitude for all of the support to Liberia by the Government of the United States. She also acknowledged the long-standing traditional ties between the two countries and outlined some of the developmental challenges still being faced by Liberia.
She also pointed to the many successes of her administration and praised the U.S. Congress for being a reliable partner during the years of reconstruction and peace-building.
President Sirleaf told them that focus is now on the agricultural sector with emphasis on diversification and industrialization and the empowerment of small-holder farmers. She also noted that there was a great deal of prospect for the tourism sector, noting that infrastructure remains a major impediment in maximizing the outcomes of the sector.
She indicated that more efforts will be applied to the educational, health and energy sectors as Liberia continues with its development drive and urged the U.S. to continuously stand with Liberia during its rebuilding process.
Other members of the Congressional Delegation included Representative Karen Bass, a Democratic Congresswoman from California and Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic Congresswoman from New York, and accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Christine Elder; Dr. Susan Blumenthal, wife of Senator Markey; Philip McGovern, Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Markey, amongst others.
Congressman Markey, who has been a member of the U.S. Congress for 40 years, pointed out that they were honored to be in Liberia and for the opportunity to meet with Liberia and Africa’s first female President and Nobel Laureate.
He called for emphasis to be placed on telecommunication, energy and petroleum as the country seeks to build a 21st century economy. The Congressional delegation praised President Sirleaf for pushing hard to make Liberia a Power Africa country.
“As you know, Liberia was not among countries selected for the Power Africa Program. Your strong leadership qualities, which led you to have pushed so hard, saw Liberia being listed as a beneficiary. You are indeed a great leader doing a wonderful job in Liberia,” Representative Bass noted.
For her part, Representative Maloney told President Sirleaf that she bears the aspirations of all women across the world and thanked her for being a great female leader on the African continent and the world at large.