Go Up, Antoinette Sayeh, and Teach Your Fellow Liberians, the World the Virtue of Integrity and Hard Work!


We have decided to devote this final Editorial of the week to three causes.

The first is to celebrate an outstanding Liberian and African daughter, Dr. Antoinette Sayeh; second, to pray that what she is being recommended for will materialize; third and most importantly, to help the Liberian and African people to understand, accept and take seriously the critical meaning and virtue (advantage, benefit) of INTEGRITY and HARD WORK.

Why are we focusing upon and honoring Antoinette today? Lest we forget, this is not the first time the Daily Observer has honored this Liberian woman. In 2007 we named her Person of the Year after she and her successor, Augustine Ngafuan, succeeded in enabling Liberia to meet the requirements of HIPIC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries), leading the International lenders to cancel the US$4 billion debt our country had owed over many years.

Today we honor her consistency in serving both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over more than two decades.  We must also remember that when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed her Finance Minister in early 2006, Antoinette did not say “This is my time to get rich”, then proceed to do all kinds of bad things to achieve that greedy and grievous (terrible, shameful) objective.  We do not have to remind our readers about the many senior and not so senior officials who, during the Sirleaf administration, simply went after the money, in some instances tens of millions of it, and got off scot-free.

NO! Dr. Sayeh played well her part in serving her country diligently, efficiently and honestly; and after little over two years, having accomplished her main goal—wiping out the US$4 billion debt, she gracefully bowed out and returned to her job at the World Bank.

Next thing we knew, she was called by the Bank’s sister Organization, the IMF, to take charge of its entire African portfolio.  She performed this, too, with distinction for over 8 unbroken years.

That is why the IMF’s most senior official, its Managing Director, Madam Kristalina Georgieva, this week proposed the appointment of Dr. Antoinette Sayeh as Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, effective March 16, 2020.  The appointment is subject to the approval by the IMF’s Executive Board.

This nomination of Dr. Sayeh has nothing to do with politics.  Let us also point out that the Liberian government had absolutely nothing to do with it!  The GOL did not even know about it until they saw it our Business Reporter David Yates’ story in the Daily Observer last Wednesday morning, February 26, 2020.

Reporter Yates said in his story that the IMF Managing Director, in announcing Dr. Sayeh’s selection, said “we are welcoming back a dear friend and member of the IMF family.  Antoinette is very well known and highly respected, having served as Director of the African Department between 2008 and 2016, where she led a major transformation of the Fund’s relationship with our African member countries.  Antoinette demonstrates a rare combination of institutional leadership, deep analytical capacity, and an unwavering commitment to fairness.  I have always been impressed by her genuine care for the wellbeing of the people we serve and her ability to place them front and center in our efforts.”

Daughters and sons of Liberia, yea Africa, you have heard it all!  We plead with you, urge each and all of you, in whatever vocation or capacity you find yourselves, to emulate Antoinette Sayeh’s example of competence, diligence, efficiency, fairness, integrity and service.  All of you who emulate this, Antoinette’s great example will go far.

Remember what we said in yesterday’s Editorial, quoting Solomon in the Book Proverbs: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

A prominent Liberian politician, who was one time a student leader and devotee of Albert Porte, the constitutional analyst, pamphleteer and agitator with the pen, said last night as we discussed Antoinette Sayeh that he could not understand why so many Liberians in high places go after money, money, money.  They seemed to have forgotten that so many Liberian big shots who got rich in government service, and even others who made money on their own, have been forgotten; yet one of the poorest Liberians in material terms, Albert Porte, is passionately (fervently) remembered by Liberians.  “It wasn’t Albert Porte’s money, for he, his wife Bertha and their 11 children hand none.  But we remember Mr. Porte because of his integrity, his courage and tenacity in speaking and writing about the things he cared about—truth, justice, fairness and good governance.  And where are Liberia’s onetime rich?  Gone, forgotten, or not remembered in any positive way.

We once again wholeheartedly commend Dr. Sayeh for this nomination and hope, pray and trust that the IMF’s Executive Board will approve Managing Director Georgieva’s nomination.

We call on all African young women and men to read about this great African woman, Dr. Antoinette Sayeh, and emulate her enviable example.  She is one of the few Africans with a PhD who has done something tangible with this terminal degree.