The governments of Liberia and La Côte d’Ivoire will hold their second Joint Commission meeting in Monrovia beginning today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said in a release. The three-day meeting, which will take place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be held in two phases: technical working sessions on August 28-29; and a ministerial meeting on August 30, to be climaxed with the signing of a Joint Commission Framework Agreement by Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon Kamara and her Ivoirian counterpart, Minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh.
Liberia and La Côte d’Ivoire held their first Joint Commission meeting in Monrovia 45 years ago in 1972, following which many agreements, including peace and security and economic integration, were signed with the aim to strengthen their bilateral relationship. As members of the Mano River Union basin (MRU) which share natural resources, it was envisaged that both countries will benefit from the comparative advantage that each has. Moreover, their agreements were intended to foster the free movement of people, the exchange of ideas, goods and services, and form a common front in alleviating some of the many developmental challenges faced by the two countries.
The two sub-regional neighbors enjoy strong bilateral cooperation particularly in education through student exchange programs; agriculture through farmer cooperative networks and crops exchanges; health through dental and medical professional deployment; as well as very strong cross border trade. However, due to the years of civil crises which engulfed both countries at different intervals, not much was done to implement the principles of the agreement.
Nevertheless, based on mutual desire to reactivate the agreement, Liberia, in July 2016, submitted 11 memoranda for cooperation to the Ivorian Government for consideration. The Ivorian Government, while accepting areas for proposed cooperation by Liberia, added nine more areas for cooperation, thereby bringing the total number of memoranda to 20. After a careful review and analysis of the potential areas within the Ivoirian proposal, and given the short lifespan of the administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following consultations with line ministries, identified four priority areas.
Both countries have now agreed to focus on the general framework of the agreement and five technical areas which include: technical vocational education; sanitation and urban development; agriculture; maritime delimitation; and energy (electricity).