Liberia: “Boakai’s Gov’t Must Build Confidence, Trust”

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (right) in conversation with President Joseph Nyumah Boakai (left) following his inauguration (Photo credit: Spoon Network)

Amb. Thomas-Greenfield says America Won’t Invest here if Liberians don’t have confidence in their gov’t

The United States has made it clear that it won’t invest in Liberia unless the country’s government demonstrates responsible leadership and builds confidence in the business environment.

This was emphasized by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, during a courtesy visit to President Joseph Nyuma Boakai at his residence in Paynesville on Tuesday, January 23.

Boakai was sworn into office on Monday, January 22, 2024, following his victory over former President George Weah in a tensely contested poll in November 2023.

“Americans are not going to invest in Liberia unless the people have confidence in their government,” she said, adding, however, that she is very confident that President Boakai will provide that confidence to the United States.

She emphasized the importance of the people having confidence in their government for American investment to take place.

While some may believe that the US has not done enough for Liberia, considering the close ties between the two countries and Liberia’s abundant natural resources, President Boakai believes that corruption within the country has hindered progress.

Ambassador Greenfield, as part of her delegation, had the USAID Director directly engage with President Boakai and discuss ways in which US taxpayer dollars can benefit the people of Liberia in areas such as education, health, and infrastructure.

“Congratulations to Boakai and the Liberian people for having a stable democracy. We look forward to seeing President Boakai using the resources in this country to support the people of Liberia in terms of education, health, as well as infrastructure,” Greenfield noted.

Former President George Weah, despite his popularity as a former soccer star, struggled to attract foreign investors during his term of office, which ultimately affected his governance results. On the other hand, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, with her political experience and background in international development and finance, received significant support from the US and other friendly governments, although corruption later became a challenge within her administration.

President Boakai, while acknowledging his own imperfections, has committed to leading by example to tackle corruption, regardless of whoever is involved.

During his inaugural address, he assured the nation that he would uphold the Constitution and ensure the rule of law is respected.

He also assured Liberians that his government will work assiduously to restore inclusiveness, transparency, effective governance, the dignity of the people, and integrity across all sectors of the country.

According to him, this commitment to inclusiveness aims to heal the divisions that have plagued the country in the past and foster a sense of unity among its citizens.

President Boakai outlined his first hundred days mission, urging realistic expectations from the citizens. 

Highlighting the Unity Party’s slogan of a “Rescue Mission for Liberia,” he called for national unity, emphasizing that development can only be achieved through collective efforts, irrespective of political differences. 

“We must refocus our agenda on the priorities of the Country and its people,” the President said, adding that he has come to rekindle the hopes of the Liberian people. 

Boakai declared an end to the era of business as usual and expressed determination to eradicate the culture of unfinished tasks and half-hearted efforts.

The new Liberian leader said his statement is a clarion call for a new Liberia, a different Liberia, a Liberia that genuinely practices the rule of law and adheres to the tenets of democratic governance in the interest of all our people.

“This historic vote by the people has given me the mandate to serve as the 26th President of the Republic of Liberia. This mandate makes me the president of all Liberians within our territorial confines and the diaspora at large,” Boakai continued. “The elections are over. Partisanship must give way to nationalism and inclusive governance.”

Focusing on addressing corruption and impunity, President Boakai stressed the need to build a society where these vices have no place.