Boakai: ‘We Need to Reclaim The Lost Future of Liberia’

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For VP Boakai speaking at the LCP's program

Calls for adequate investment in youth

Former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai has said that Liberia is at a critical juncture, and it only takes adequate investment in its youth, especially in technical areas, to put the country on the right trajectory for national development.

He said that for too long investors have imported the labor into the country, and there is a need for that to come to an end—“but this can only happen when the nation invests in its youth. We are aware that the labor aspect of our economy has for a long time been controlled by our brothers from other countries, who come here with their technical skills. We have to take those jobs back for our young people,” Boakai said.

The former ruling party political leader spoke at the Center for Career Discovery during the closing ceremony of the first vacation enrichment program held by the Liberia Career Pathways (LCP) in Monrovia.

The LCP is an innovative public-private education initiative that is designed to support college and career readiness in targeted subject areas such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The program focuses on youth career development in technical areas such as agriculture, Biochemical technicians, and those who can repair high-tech medical equipment—electricians, plumbers and other technical field. Mr. Boakai is the founder of the program, which he borrowed from the USA when he visited there few years ago.

Mr. Boakai said the country’s economic growth and development depend on a trained and skilled workforce, especially the youth who make up the bulk of the population.

“We need to give our young people the skills we need to take over our labor force. We need to reclaim the lost future of this country, and we can only achieve that when we invest in our youth,” he said.

Boakai said that the nation is in need of technical knowledge, “because there are a lot of people who are missing their career and have taken different paths because they are being led in the wrong way.”

According to Mr. Boakai, “we do not have those technical skills, because this is why must of our young people are not employed. We need to start going into the technical fields so that foreigners will not be taking the jobs that belong to Liberians.”

He disabused the minds of the beneficiaries that white collar jobs, which almost everyone is seeking, are the best and well paid jobs.

Boakai added, “Many of you think white collar jobs are the best, but this is not the case. Technical jobs bring more money.”

“We need skills, we need trained people to take-over the development of this country. We have to do this to secure the future of the next generation. This is why I’m so passionate about this program,” Mr. Boakai said, adding that his concern is about the next generation.

 

Stakeholders and participants posed shortly after the ceremony ended

He lauded the beneficiaries of the vacation for taking advantage of this program, nothing: “This is an opportunity for you that some of us did not have at your age. We don’t feel pleased seeing people coming here taking our jobs, but our people need to be prepared if you are to put an end to this. Let us take our country back and prepare our children to be competent to lead our country.”

LCP Executive Director Kenety Gee said that the enrichment program was intended to provide Liberian youth with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills in key technical sectors.

“This program is helping our students to discover what they are good at and can pursue as a career,” Gee said.

The program began at three high schools — Tubman High, Booker Washington Institute (BWI) and St. Peters Lutheran. He noted that young people need to venture into professions that are in demand if they are to succeed.

All of the beneficiaries were presented certificates of participation

5 COMMENTS

    • Hey Phil – while I may understand your frustrations but at times we ought to look pass the messenger and look at the message. As a Liberian reader, my first reaction after reading this article is that he served as VP for twelve years and why the administration never addressed this issue and only now he wants to?? Like you, I would be in the right to question his sincerity at this moment, but what I would ask Liberians to stop and think about is whether what the VP is saying seems logical. If it is then what he’s essentially telling us is that this is what the administration should have done but neglected to do. Maybe after his twelve years of service he just now sees the problems and providing solutions to the nation. But if we say nope, since you did not do it therefore we are not going to, then how different are we from him??

  1. You’ve said it all Mr. Boakai. Indeed, the future of Liberia lies in molding and developing the minds of the youths of Liberia, and any serious administration should know that by now.

    Over the past twelve years of President Sirleaf presidency the country attracted over $17 billion in investment. The irony about this vast investment in the country is that most of these concessions did not benefit the Liberian workforce, hence the high youths unemployment. The majority of the workforce for these companies is foreigners and the reason for that is due to the lack of trained Liberian workforce.

    No company will invest in a nation that will require the company to train the workforce first before beginning operation, especially if the training will take years. That would defeat the objective, profit making. It also puts the national government in a bind when negotiating with foreign investors to employ its nationals when it has not trained labor force. This is one of the areas where Asia has surpassed Africa with trained labor force, and that explains why most companies move to Asia and finished products of raw materials taken from Africa are made.

    Liberia cannot sustain this trend if the country really wants to realize its potential. The country must start investing in training its workforce now. If Liberian had invested in training its labor force some twelve years ago, it would have cut down the unemployment of youths by nearly the number of foreign workers today. But it is not too late to start now, that is if the government realizes that.

    Factories are not going to be built in Liberia if the workforce is not available to support such investment. It is just not economically wise from a business point of view. On the other hand, if that happens the workers are mostly going to be foreign workers.

  2. Phil,
    Payback time!
    When I stated that Weah didn’t have juju to re-condition Liberia overnight, you responded to my comment as being interesting and humorous. I cackled when I read your one-liner above. I think yours is more humorous than anything I have read in recent days. After almost a 9-month hiatus from the Liberian political landscape, former VP Boakai is slowly making it back on stage.
    I wish him .

  3. “We are aware that the labor aspect of our economy has for a long time been controlled by our brothers from other countries, who come here with their technical skills”

    Mr. Boakai, why would you want to take those jobs back from our brothers? Shouldn’t we be encouraging these brothers with the technical skills to help cultivate other brothers who has little to no technical skills that we utilize to build an even stronger work force?
    This is where we always go wrong. There are lot of other areas we can focus our attention to get back jobs like for example: Bong mine (iron ore mining company) in margibi county is now being operated by the Chinese who imports majority of their labor force instead of hiring Liberians. And many other areas I believe you are aware of, they all import their labor force from their own countries.
    I don’t want to see what happen in South Africa to the Nigerians happen in my country. And I’m assuming when you speak of brothers, you are referring to blacks/African from neighboring countries. Liberia is suppose to be a refuge for all blacks. Please I do not want to hear divisive statements coming from leaders who are supposed to be educating us on what Liberia stands for. We let the Chinese, American, Indians, Lebanese, Israelis etc… they all come in and do whatever the heck they feel like doing and steal our resources without anybody speaking against them but we want to speak about taking jobs back from our brothers who have skills we can employ to build our nation. Better stop that nonsense.

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