Capacity Building Necessary to Address Solid Waste Management

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Mayor Koijee outlined Monrovia challenges, presents vision for Sustainable Development at the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum in South Africa

 Mayor Koijee informs mayors at Capital Cities Forum

Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee has told a conference of mayors at the African Capital Cities Forum in Tshwane South Africa (June 5-7) that there is an urgent need for capacity building of the City Government of Monrovia to address the solid waste management.

He said the City Government is currently privatizing solid waste management, to address poor sanitation that is posing a health threat to thousands of residents in the city.

He said, “It is burdensome for both the central and city governments in Africa to shoulder the responsibility of waste collection in the absence of recycling plant and lack of sufficient energy.

“African countries are struggling while depending heavily on foreign aid and Monrovia is of no exception to cities in Africa facing economic difficulties,” he said.

He named the World Bank as the major donor that is providing US$10.5 Million to implement a landfill project which, according to him, will help with equipment to collect waste. US$7million is also expected from the Government of Liberia to facilitate the project.

The forum is organized each year for the convergence of mayors, and Mayor Koijee’s presentation focused on series of challenges ranging from water and sanitation, Climate Change, Energy and Transport, Financing and Bankability and Waste Management, and how to address these challenges to meet the development needs for cities in Africa.

Mayor Koijee’s presentation was also meant to seek support to improve the sanitation and other conditions in the city of Monrovia.

He told the gathering of mayors that they must endeavor to lead the vanguard for the development of their various cities, to also improve housing for the poor and inefficient public transportation which are some of the challenges cities, including Monrovia, face in their development agenda.

He said fifty percent of waste generated in Monrovia is plastic. Pointing out the negative effect on Monrovia, he said plastic waste was gradually covering the ocean bed, which may lead to serious water pollution in Africa and the world.

“This is dangerous to mankind’s health because we depend on marine life for food, and if infected humans stand to face the consequences,” he told his colleagues.

Mayor Koijee said, “Monrovia is confronted by a lot of issues ranging from lack of equipment to waste collection, poor housing, and limited human resource capacity, inadequate finance, and low manpower to enforce the city’s ordinance.”

He said his administration’s vision is to make Monrovia clean, green and safe and provide jobs for young people, tackle poor housing, address public transportation and place Monrovia on the list of beautiful cities in Africa.

He attributed his vision to the goals and objectives of the Liberian government’s pro-poor agenda that places issues about poor Liberians as a top priority of the government’s development agenda.

Mayor Koijee commended the Mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga and the Government of South Africa for granting Liberia a visa waiver under the leadership of President George M. Weah and appealed to them to extend such goodwill to cover student exchange programs between the University of Cape Town, Johannesburg, and the University of Liberia, including the provision of buses to help tackle Liberia’s transportation problem.

He said such assistance will help to improve Liberia’s education sector and address the deplorable transportation problem in Monrovia.

For his part, Mayor Msimanga expressed his delight for President George Weah, who he said is one of the icons of Africa and who has always dreamed to become the next Nelson Mandela.

He encouraged African mayors to start what he called “the African way of solving our issues,” by providing support to each other where it is necessary and available.

The African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum is a powerful growing community of mayors of capital cities across the continent. This year’s forum brought together 35 mayors from 54 African capital cities.

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