Ellen Off to Germany

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has departed the country for Schloss Elmau in Upper Bavaria Germany to attend the 41st summit meeting of the heads of state and government of the Group of Seven (G7).

The meeting, which takes place from June 7 to 8, will discuss the global economy, foreign security and development policy, the UN conferences to be held later this year as well as the post-2015 agenda, an Executive Mansion statement said.

President Sirleaf will be in attendance with several other African leaders who have been invited to grace the occasion. This is in determination to support African nations in their reform efforts and consequently strengthen peace and security, growth and sustainable development on the continent.

African heads of state and others attending alongside President Sirleaf include the newly inaugurated Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Senegal’s President and current ECOWAS chair Macky Sall, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi. Together with them, the G7 leaders will engage in a wide-range dialogue on Africa and global policy issues, the statement said.

Also meeting the G7 leaders on the second day will be the chairpersons of international organizations which include: Chair of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dlamini Zuma; International Labor Organization (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder;

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde; Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), José Ángel Gurría; President of the World Bank (WB), Jim Kim; Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Roberto Azevêdo; and the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Ban Ki-moon.

However this year’s G7 Summit, which is also referred to as the German Presidency, falls in a watershed year for international cooperation. This applies to the UN summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, to the conference on financing for development and to the planned climate agreement that is to be adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference at the end of the year in Paris.

G7 leaders have indicated that at this event, they want to send a strong signal of credibility and support in this respect.
The G7 States also aim to further empower women. Women’s active participation in economic life around the world will reduce poverty and inequality, foster growth and thus encourage social cohesion, with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, pointing out that an important precondition is to give women and girls the chance to obtain vocational and professional qualifications, especially in developing countries.

The G7 nations also want to use the summit occasion to discuss how to make global health systems more resilient. “The Ebola epidemic was a wake-up call for all of us,” said the Chancellor and pointed to an initiative for improved crisis management.

It is reported that with the President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama, and the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Angela Merkel has submitted to the United Nations proposals for better crisis management to respond to global health emergencies.

The summit in Schloss Elmau will also look at the use of antibiotics. The World Health Organization aims to ensure, through a global action plan, that life-saving antibiotics remain effective. At the start of May the German government adopted its own antimicrobial resistance strategy, reports say.

Meanwhile, G7 is a group consisting of the Finance Ministers and central bank governors of seven major advanced economies such as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States, while the European Union (EU) is also represented within the G7. It is also attended by the heads of states and government of these nations.

Meanwhile, while President Sirleaf is away from the country, the Minister of National Defense, Mr. Brownie Samukai, will serve as Acting Chairman of the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr. She is expected back on Wednesday, June 9.

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