—Highlights health, education, and infrastructural development b/w the two countries
The newly elected president of the Federation of Liberian Associations in Canada (FLAC), Professor Nancy Reeves, has called on the government of Liberia to strengthen its diplomatic relations with Canada.
Prof. Reeves in a discussion with Ambassador to the United States, George Patten Sr., said that it is about time that the government, led by President George M. Weah, exerts more effort to strengthen the existing bilateral relationship between Canada and Liberia.
The meeting between the two distinguished Liberians took place at the Liberian Embassy in Washington, DC.
According to Prof. Reeves, the focus on the need for Liberia to strengthen diplomatic relations with Canada would bring development in the areas of health, education, and infrastructural development. She also placed emphasis on the necessity for a Consulate General Office in Canada.
As President of FLAC, Professor Reeves told the Ambassador that such initiatives are what she has planned to accomplish in collaboration with the Governments of Liberia and Canada during her term.
The Ambassador and the FLAC President further concurred that these areas of concern will create a positive step towards Job creation, which will lead to the Sustainable Development of Liberians in Canada and Liberia.
Meanwhile, bilateral relations between Canada and Liberia are good but limited. The two countries maintain a dialogue through multilateral forums. Diplomatic relation with Liberia was established in 1971 and trade relations between the two countries are modest (unsure).
In 2017, bilateral trade in goods rose to over US$40 million, composed of nearly $4.2 million in exports to Liberia and more than $35.8 million in imports from Liberia.
Top Canadian exports to Liberia include base metal products; machinery; vehicles and parts; and textiles. Liberia continues to have a challenging business environment, characterized by low human capital, poor physical infrastructure, and limited access to financial services. The registration of property and land titles also remains an issue, making it difficult for investors to access credit.
Canada does not have a bilateral development assistance program in Liberia. Development assistance is instead done through international organizations and NGOs. The Canadian non-governmental organization, EQUIP, is operating in Liberia providing health services while another one, Hope for the Nation, is supporting orphans and education in Liberia.
In 2016-2017 Canada provided $10.80 million, mainly to programs and initiatives in the health and education sectors.
Canada provided $1 million in 2016-2017 to UNDP to support the 2015-2018 Liberian Electoral Cycle and the presidential elections of 2018.