— U.S. Ambassador Christine Elder
Christine Elder, United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Monrovia, on Thursday, June 27, 2019, reaffirmed the American Government’s commitment to help Liberia achieve the goal outlined in President George Weah’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Amb. Elder informed the government that they have designed a strategy, which will guide the U.S. development initiative in the country for the next five years so it aligns with the pillars.
She made the statement at the opening of the second USAID/Liberia Development Conference held in Monrovia in collaboration with the Liberia Institute for Policy Studies and Research, the Government of Liberia (GoL), policymakers, multilateral and bilateral donors.
The conference is organized under the theme, “Implementing a Vision for Prosperity and Self-Reliance in Liberia.” The two-day event is being held from June 27-28, 2019, with focus on various panels discussions, and emphasis on policy implementation in a challenging macroeconomic context, institutional framework implementation, and addressing special challenges-vulnerable population and food security.
Amb. Elder said this year’s conference focuses on how to implement those valuable ideas as well as many solid policy proposals produced, indicating that she is confident that the discussions generated will contribute to advancing the collective effort to combat poverty and help steer Liberia on a journey of self-reliance.
“Mr. President,” Elder said, “we commend you and your administration for your Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which focuses on improving the living standard of Liberia’s most vulnerable populations, specifically in the counties. By helping the poor to get on their feet, Liberia can also accelerate the development of the middle class, which is essential for sustained growth and broadly shared prosperity.”
She said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program that Liberia is negotiating can help stabilize the economy, while preserving existing necessities in healthcare and education, upon which the country’s most vulnerable depend.
“Each time we look back and evaluate honestly how effective certain decisions or initiatives have been, we are reminded that development is an iterative process that requires the capacity to change over time, and build on success as well as learn from mistakes with the ultimate goal of developing more viable policy options and laws,” Elder said.
She added, “It requires cooperation among all branches of government, consultation with stakeholders in society, research and analysis, planning and strategic capacity and rigorous evaluation and monitoring.”
Marie Royce, United States of America Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs, said following the visit of the IMF delegation, the timely conference affords a robust discussion among policymakers, civil society representatives, business leaders, and development partners, to consider what is ahead of Liberia on its road to self-reliance, inclusive growth and prosperity.
She said one of the promises of the conference is that Liberia needs to deepen its policymaking capacity and scale up its knowledge economy, noting that, “developing countries cannot afford to neglect their knowledge-based asset.”
Royce said the key drivers to reach those goals are education and environment, which promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
She reaffirmed the U.S. Government’s support to education and culture exchange opportunities in order to continue strengthening the links between academic institutions, businesses, and CSOs (Civil Society Organizations).
She said those education exchange connections are essential, because the American Government and Liberia will become stronger and more prosperous when the people of both countries share ideas, experiences and work closely together.
Madam Royce said the U.S. Government supports capacity building of higher education institution systems in Africa through sharing expertise, promoting expanded networks and partnership, and deepening people-to-people ties.
Samuel Tweah, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, who proxied for President Weah, welcomed the delegation to Liberia, adding that one of the best partnership they have as a government is with the U.S. Government.
Tweah said the major challenge the country is faced with is found within the space of human capital development; something, he said, needs huge investment to help young people share experience with others around the world in order to create the transformation that is needed to improve the nation.