The South African envoy accredited to Liberia, Mr. Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley, has disclosed that his Embassy has extended an invitation for seven health researchers to be trained in South Africa this June & July on research methods, particularly in blood sampling and other testing.
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the South African diplomat made the disclosure Tuesday, March 22, when he paid a courtesy visit to Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon V. Kamara. It was their first meeting since she became Foreign Minister.
During their deliberations, he also spoke about collaborating with the Liberia College of Physicians in securing a Memorandum of Understanding with some of South Africa’s advanced training institutions to train health practitioners.
Ambassador Moodley informed Minister Kamara that his mission is “ here to support your democratic transition in any way possible and support those social development initiatives that you are undertaking.”
He stated further that his courtesy call was also intended to inform her about the African Union’s Vision 2063, aimed at promoting more intra-African relationships.
“Relationships can’t just be (about) being good friends; it has to go beyond that with intra-African trade and intra-African economic activities, including support for peace and security through intra-African structures.”
He disclosed that his Embassy is working with other government institutions, including the National Investment Commission (NIC), Ministry of Health, National Elections Commission to provide capacity-building to some of its employees.
The South African envoy stated that his Embassy has also held discussions with authorities at the Ministry of Transport (MOT) concerning rail and water transport. He lamented that most times, response from the Liberian side has always been slow.
The South African Envoy highlighted peace and security as a primary concern, considering events in Burkina Faso, Mali, and most recently neighboring Cote d’Ivoire.
He promised bilateral cooperation on matters of security, in the wake of UNMIL drawdown. He promised that whatever South Africa can do to further strengthen the bilateral ties, it will do. He named Lone Star Cell MTN, Ecobank and others as some South African companies helping the Liberian economy. He also stressed that large numbers of South African nationals are at ArcelorMittal and Aureus Mining in Grand Cape Mount County working in the mining industry in Liberia.
Ambassador Moodley appealed to Minister Kamara to follow up on an outstanding MOU that was to have been signed with a South African company for the renovation of the dilapidated Ducor Intercontinental Hotel and the establishment of agro-processing industries in the country. He admitted that the process commenced in 2014, but was halted due to the Ebola crisis.
He pleaded with the Foreign Minister to impress on heads of other agencies of government to always keep the South African Embassy abreast with development issues.
Responding, Minister Kamara said she was pleased that South Africa has interests in Liberia. She stated that the Ducor agreement is long overdue and that she would bring it to the President’s attention.
“We will have to make sure that these processes come to fruition,” the Foreign Minister assured as she stated that one higher priority is the memo between the South African embassy and the Post-Graduate Medical College.
She mentioned peace and security as being paramount to this government’s interest especially in the wake of UNMIL drawdown. Madam Kamara promised to liaise with heads of other agencies and ministries so that a platform for discussions with the South African Ambassador would flourish.