-Returns home after ‘successful state visits’
President George Weah has appealed to President Akufo-Addo and Ghanaians to help Liberia to progress and succeed, ghanaweb.com has said.
“I am young, I agree, but you are my big brother, and I know that you will help Liberia to succeed,” Weah appealed.
According to ghanaweb.com, President Weah made this known when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo on Friday at the Jubilee House in Accra, as part of a two-day visit to that West African country.
The purpose of the visit, he said, is to “renew the bonds of friendship and solidarity that are between the Liberian and Ghanaian people.”
“Liberia came a long way, and without Ghana, we will not be standing here today. Ghana hosted us, today we can never repay, we just have to make sure that our people continue to relate cordially, and I can assure that the relationship that has existed between our governments will also be mutually beneficial,” Weah said.
Expressing his appreciation for the role President Akufo-Addo has played in strengthening the African Union (AU), President Weah noted that “when we travel to AU meetings, like we did the last time in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, you realize that when a big brother speaks, you look and listen to him, and you know what is to be done.”
President Weah pledged to work towards strengthening the existing relationship between Ghana and Liberia.
“Ghana is my home, and we are here not to just come sight-seeing, but to reassure you that the relationship we have will be sustained and strengthened,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo referenced the longstanding, personal relationship between himself and President Weah, which predates their current respective presidencies, and described the Liberian leader “as a symbol of the progress that Liberia is making after the trauma of the civil war.
“I have known him for some time because we share many characteristics, one of which has been persistent efforts to arrive at where we are today. I believe it was a set time as it was mine.
“One of the things that I have discovered about him(Weah) is his honesty and also his commitment to the welfare of his people. That is what has brought him this far,” Addo said.
As of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s efforts, Addo said, “the first female elected leader on our continent did a great deal of work in trying to consolidate the peace, after the years of the traumatic civil war.
“And one of the most important outcomes of that process of consolidation is that she was able to organize elections which allowed for the first time, I believe, in over 74 years, a peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected leader of Liberia to another.
“That is the measure of her achievement, and it is also a measure of how far Liberia has come to put its past behind, and, in doing so, she chose as her successor a man who is already world famous in his other life as a sportsman, and who has now become a symbol of hope for the majority of the people of Liberia, especially for its youth,” Addo stated.
President Akufo-Addo also touched on the happenings in the region and asked for a realist view of the imminent threats and opportunities confronting the region.
“The world is going through some difficult moments, all kinds of new arrangements are appearing, and we, here in the West African region, must continue to deepen the contacts, the links, the friendships between us in West Africa,” he said.
According to the Ghanaian president, by doing this the challenges of the 21st century, rapid economic growth, inclusive economic growth that makes it possible for all our people to be part of the process of development so that we can successfully meet those challenges within the context of democratic values and democratic institutions the Ghanaian leader observed.
“So it is a particularly happy day for us in Ghana, and for me personally to be able to welcome to our country this famous man who, even before he became a president, was a household word in Africa,” President Akufo-Addo concluded.
Earlier, in Ghana, President Weah and his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo-Addo spoke about the longstanding partnership between Ghana and Liberia; dating as far back as Ghanaian colonial rule and the need to further strengthen that bond. The Ghanaian leader pledged his government’s support towards the security sector amid United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) departure from Liberia.
Weah returns home
Shortly after he touched down at the Robert International Airport yesterday, President Weah told journalists that his trip was “successful,” as major developmental issues were discussed.
“We went on a mission for the Liberian people and it was successful,” the President said.
President Weah said the visit to Ivory Coast was to rekindle and strengthen the relationship that already exists between the two countries.
“We spoke about a Joint Commission that would give us the opportunity to access agriculture and electricity,” the President said, adding, “Liberia is the oldest State to gain growth, and so we need to tap into agriculture with Ivory Coast as a case study.”
“The issues of cross-border security and the need to enhance trade between both Liberia and Ivory Coast were discussed,” he said.
According to the release, President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast expressed disquiet that enough has not been done to enhance trade between both countries, and therefore, Ouattara informed President Weah that agriculture and energy are the backbone of the Ivorian economy.
He meanwhile offered his government’s willingness to share expertise in these sectors with Liberia, recalled how Mali, Togo, Guinea, Ghana, and Burkina Faso are countries currently benefiting from the Ivorian energy.
President Weah was taken on a guided tour by the Vice President of Ivory Coast, Daniel Kablan Duncan to the facilities of the Energy Production Company of Ivory Coast-CIPREL in an effort to see how best Liberia can benefit from that country’s energy sector.
Liberia currently has 80 megawatts of energy being produced by the Mt. Coffee Hydro, while the Ivorian energy Company is producing between 500-800 megawatts.
While in the Ivory Coast, President Weah was gowned and named by traditional chiefs and elders as “Poemay” meaning the Star.
During his visits to both countries, President Weah had the opportunity to engage the press in separate press-stakeouts where he outlined the challenges of his country.
A technical team is expected to return to Abidjan soon to sign an MOU aimed at benefiting from the surplus energy being produced by Ivory Coast.