President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on bilateral and multilateral partners to come and help Liberia in its recovery efforts through investment in the private sector.
The latest appeal from President Sirleaf was conveyed to the government and people of the United Kingdom (UK) through the new Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, David Belgrove.
Receiving Ambassador Belgrove’s Letters of Credence recently at her Foreign Ministry office , President Sirleaf said the UK diplomat comes at a time when Liberia is at a critical juncture after being declared Ebola-free and the country is pursuing recovery.
President Sirleaf said under Ambassador Belgrove, she anticipates an upsurge of UK investments in the country, especially the private sector, with a keen interest in exploring business opportunities that would contribute to the country’s recovery plan.
She narrated how the country’s economy was devastated by the Ebola outbreak, indicating further that Liberia’s two major exports, iron ore and rubber, are currently suffering a drastic decline in prices on the global market.
She said government’s concentration in the post-Ebola recovery is now focused on the four key areas of infrastructure, agriculture, health and education.
“To this end, we anticipate that such investments would be directed to the manufacturing industries, especially in the value chain to enhance job creation and alleviate unemployment rate, President Sirleaf noted.
She extolled the excellent relations currently subsisting between the two countries and enumerated continual support of the UK government in several sectors of the Liberian society. They include the Liberian security sector reform with specific reference to assistance provided by that country’s Armed Forces to the Liberian army.
Other areas of support are civil service reforms and the Liberia Institute of Public Administration and governance and the rule of law through the African Governance Initiative (AGI) founded and sponsored by Mr. Tony Blair which contributed immensely to Liberia’s judiciary system and girl’s education.
Ambassador Belgrove, who earlier served here as the United Kingdom’s representative in Liberia from 2010 – 2012, expressed his government’s deepest sympathy for the thousands of lives lost as a result of Ebola virus disease (EVD).
Ambassador Belgrove agreed with President Sirleaf on the need to encourage private investment partnership and sees his task as encouraging the United Kingdom’s private sector to invest in Liberia. “We very much look forward to working with your government in all of those areas. I will definitely make those my priorities,” he assured the President.