President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has begun pushing for support from high level delegation from the United States attending the ongoing African Union 23rd Summit to help with the implementation of electricity project in Liberia.
President Sirleaf’s request for assistance came at the ongoing conference in Malabo when she met with U.S. high level delegation comprising former Ambassadors Liberia Linda Thomas Greenfield, now Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Donald Booth.
The intent for the meeting between the Liberian leader and the US delegation is to identify what the United States should place on its agenda for the US-Africa bilateral meeting expected to be held on August 5 and 6 this year in Washington D.C.
A dispatch from Malabo quotes President Sirleaf as saying that her administration’s top priority need for now is sustained and cheap electricity she believes will help in the country’s economic revitalization.
She said while her government has already taken some steps in the restoration of electricity to the ountry, she was still opened for partnership intervention in order to solve Liberia’s energy problem.
The ongoing rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee hydro plant and the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) are two projects President Sirleaf desribed cardinal.
President Sirleaf observes that the WAPP project is moving very slowly and hopes the US would remit some funding to it for its extension to Liberian villages since the country was named by President Barack Obama as one of the five African beneficiaries of the U.S. Power Africa in June 2013.
However, Grant Harris, a member of the US delegation told President Sirleaf that while U.S. Government seeks the priority needs of African countries, they have lined up security, trade and investment, health, food security and trafficking of all kinds, and was consulting to see whether the items were equally important areas for African countries.
Responding to these concerns, President Sirleaf named Africa’s problem on lack of education and jobs for its youths and believes if Africa is to make progress, these fundamental issues must be tackled; emphasizing that the issue of education, both technical and vocational, be placed on the high table.
The Liberian leader reminded the US delegation of the theme of the ongoing AU Summit: “Year of Agriculture and Food Security,” reminding them about the region’s readiness to be self-sufficient in food production and opting to seek partnership in addressing the continent’s food security problem.