On Thursday, January 16, 2020, President George M. Weah named Ms. Jeanine Milly Cooper, chief executive officer (CEO) of Fabrar Liberia Incorporated, a local rice processing company, as Liberia’s new Minister of Agriculture. Her nomination is subject to confirmation by the Liberian Senate.
President Weah made the nomination Thursday, 16 January 2020, following months of a rigorous vetting process. Ms. Cooper replaces Dr. Mogana Flomo who was relieved of his duties on June 29, 2019.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Cooper served as Managing Director of FABRAR-Liberia Enterprise Limited. FABRAR, Liberia’s biggest rice processing company, which she founded in 2009, specializes in processing and marketing of local rice for domestic consumption and export.
From a micro-milling operation and purchasing paddy rice from smallholder farmers, FABRAR under her watch has become Liberia’s largest rice producer, supplying food products to schools and other institutions, including supermarkets and retailers.
Ms. Cooper, a multilingual, worked for the United Nations System for 13 years—her last posting being Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa. She was also Head of the Liaison Office for the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), posting with the UN-OCHA in Kenya and for the Eastern and Southern Africa region.
Ms. Cooper’s career spanned an additional 10 years of humanitarian work with international NGOs and charitable institutions in Africa. She worked with the first team of Médecins Sans Frontières (Belgium), which worked in Liberia during the civil war in 1990–1996.
The newly nominated Minister of Agriculture founded a local NGO in Liberia, the Children’s Assistance Program (CAP), which has served youth since 1991 and is a leading partner in child development. Ms. Cooper also managed humanitarian programs in northeastern Kenya and southern Somalia with Vétérinaires Sans Frontières-Suisse from 1991-2003.
Ms. Cooper has also supported community-initiated agricultural projects and served on the board of directors of developmental bodies and educational institutions in Liberia and in Côte d’Ivoire.
She graduated from the College of West Africa and holds Master of Science degree in Managing Rural Change from Imperial College, the University of London in 2003. She earlier graduated from Michigan State University, United States of America in 1982 with Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees in Business Administration and French.
Ms. Cooper earned a distinction for her dissertation on “Capitalizing on Liberia’s Rubber Sector to Anchor Post-Conflict Reconstruction”. She completed several certificate courses in Financing for Development and Public-Private Partnerships, as well as Business and Entrepreneurship.