It is with no doubt that a phenomenal progress of mankind still widely embraced is the existence of nation states. Tracing from the West Philia Treaty to present, states have been marked by features which transcend geographic locations and also include superficial tenants like rouge state, weak state, developed state among others.
However, the author argues that much have been written about features of the ruining economy, civil war, child mortality, teenage pregnancy and other dreadful situations than the integral roles the nation state of Liberia has played in fostering international cooperation and providing for actions aimed at maintaining peace and security, which is core to human existence.
Therefore, this article brings together elemental contributions from Liberia towards the formation of international and regional originations, and support to worthy causes of adverting sufferings and degradation against the human race.
An essential part of the paper aims at identifying ways the African Union (AU) have shaped the dynamics of governance in Africa and situating it as a brainchild of Liberia.
With more than a century and half of existence as a sovereign nation state, Liberia’s journey has covered millions of miles. Liberia has a soft spot among the earliest driving forces in the formation of key international organizations and significant international instruments. Liberia was the only African at the function forming the League of Nations in Paris in 1920. At the San Francisco conference Liberia was also a founding member of the UN (Liberia representatives who signed the charter: Hon. C.L. Simpson Sr. – Chairman, Hon. Gabriel L. Dennis, Hon. Lemuel Gibson, Hon. Richard A. Henries and Hon. Emment Grants). Liberia is also founding member of the Mano River Union (MRU), the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), and the African Union (AU).
Liberia in 1961 provided troops to the United Nations’ Congo Operation – a UN peacekeeping force established under UN Security Council Resolution 143 of July 14, 1960 to respond to the Congo crisis. For that mission, Liberia sent forces on two occasions, and everyone returned home safely in evidence to fostering peace and cooperation central to the UN.
Liberia’s contributions to international organizations are laudable and display functional utilities in the international sphere. The significance of international organizations has been identified by a wide range of scholars and international actors including Breme Allemagne, who mentioned how international Organizations and INGOs have played a leading role in the making of global development policies during the last fifty years and are powerful engines of globalization as much as global transmitters of ideas and knowledge.
This has become more convincing as the roles of these organizations become pronounced and recognized by governmental actors of the most powerful countries, similarly as Esther Brimmer, a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations at the State Department, stated that, “ultimately it is about shared responses to shared challenges…working with international organizations is fundamentally essential to modern diplomacy. International organizations are places where nations can find common solutions to complex problems.”
With a huge deposit of natural resources, Liberia has for a long time been a center for foreign direct investment, having rubber and iron ore as major commodities despite its scourge of civil unrest. (2000 Encyclopedia of World Geography. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. p. 161. ISBN 1-56619-291-9.)
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2003, Liberia has enjoyed a level of peace, although still seen from the prism of a fragile state by some critics.
The name Liberia stems from a Latin word which means “land of the freed”. (Bayor, Ronald (Jul 31, 2011). Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans, Volume 2.) The country stretches over a land area of 43,000 square (111,369 square kilometers) miles, 23 percent of which is water, with 350 miles of coastline. By the 2015 estimate, Liberia is home to 4,503,000 persons (“Liberia”. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency).
According to the 2008 national census, the Kpelle tribe accounts for the most populous tribe at 20.3 percent, followed by Bassa, 13.4; Grebo, 10.0; Gio, 8.0; Mano, 7.9; Kru, 6.0; Lorma, 5.1; Kissi, 4.8; Gola, 4.4; and others, 20.1.
Liberia is located at the west coast of Africa and shares borders with Guinea to the north; Sierra Leone to the West; Ivory Coast to the east; and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Much of the climate is divided between the dry and wet rainy seasons.
Analysis: Formation of Organization of African Unity-African Union and Contextual Relevance
It can be looked at from historical perspectives that Liberia has for a long time played meaningful roles in organizing and formalizing civilized patterns of human existence, especially institutions and organizations. While knowing about the League of Nations and the United Nations is key, a historical context of Africa is viewed from the formation of the OAU, transitioned to the AU, as well as political support to Nigeria and South Africa, which are competitively Africa’s biggest economies. (GDP in South Africa is expected to be US$300 billion by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations, while the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria was worth US$481.07 billion in 2015, according to the same source).
Whether Africa is truly independent is a worthy question to save for later while necessity for independence among African countries is considered valid.
Independence gave rise to the formation of new nation states in Africa and eventually led to a free Africa devoid of direct colonial rule. This being a legacy to celebrate, Liberia must be a champion to remember in all of African history.
TNT may be more popular as a medical term for an antibiotic, but here it refers to a conference that set the pace of the OAU in the historic county capital of Nimba, Sanniquellie, in 1959 depicting Tubman, Nkrumah and Toure. (Horton, R.).
During these discussions, two cardinal, inseparable dimensions were looked at – economics and politics – leading to the African Development Bank and the OAU. The genesis of unity and freedom in Africa stemmed from the Saniquellie meeting where all the leaders agreed to foster a fully independent and united Africa. (ibid)
Poised to the fulfillment of the agenda, another meeting in 1961 was also convened by Tubman in welcoming newly independent states into the comity of nations. That eventually led to the drafting of the charters of the AfDB and the OAU, signed and coming into force in 1963.
Since then, the African Development Bank has played pivotal roles in addressing phenomenon economic issues in Liberia and Africa at large. Now imagining how the bank lends to fragile states and offers low interest loans to countries and creating a special fund for the fight against some of the world’s killer diseases, the long envisioned dreams of the great men of Liberia with continental shared-inclusiveness for a united and economically prosperous Africa is well a reality to celebrate. Areas of priority for the AfDB include social development by developing infrastructure like power supply, water, sanitation, transport, and communication. From research at the end of 2015, the Bank had made US$112 billion of loans and grants since 1967, through some 4,370 operations. In 2015, it disbursed some US$ 8.8 billion in 240 operations.
AU as an offspring of Liberia’s brainchild has some objectives to achieve including greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and Africans; to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States; to accelerate the political and socioeconomic integration of the continent; to promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples, which are now influencing governance in Africa.
Today the AU has supported several peacekeeping missions and created regimes in support of a wider framework of democracy, which functionaries resisted violent governments in Mali and Burkina Faso, further ensuring the dream long had by Liberia over half a century ago. The African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), to which Liberia contributes troops, is also a fulfillment of maintaining the territorial integrity of Member States of AU, like the AU/UN Hybrid in Sudan.
Two of Africa’s biggest economies owe a wealth of gratitude to Liberia on the basis that Nigeria was supported by Liberia in gaining political sovereignty while the fight to bring relief to marginalized South Africans in the struggle against “Apartheid” was hugely influenced by Liberia, even to the extent of affording refuge and finances to one of the world’s most affluent and cross cutting societal figures, Nelson R. Mandela.
Domestic policy implementation and infrastructure still lag in Liberia as compared to most parts of Africa thereby creating a diminished image of Liberia’s international image.
The roles of professional Liberians at International Governmental Organizations like MRU, ECOWAS and AU, have over the recent years taken a downward turn.
The paper has mapped the important roles Liberia has played that face little to no recognition today.
With particular emphasis on international organizations, Liberia’s contribution to the League of Nations, UN, AU are significant to the intentional system.
In spite of the understanding that Liberia helped the independence processes of South Africa and Nigeria, the author is aware that it will be erroneous to shrewdly mention that the level of growth and development both have obtained are based directly on Liberia, but argues the undeniable fact that the stages which led to both countries’ fundamental political stability have important traces to the roles Liberia played in setting their political systems.