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Economic hardship persists

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Economic hardship remains persistent here, as President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says Liberia’s economy is going through some stress, citing the most recent deadly Ebola outbreak that killed over 8, 000 Liberians and broke down the nation’s economy, coupled with decline in global commodity prices, among others.

The President underscored the ongoing economic crisis here Monday, 19 October while receiving the letters of credence of Sweden Ambassador Ms. Lena Nordstrom in the Cabinet Room at her temporary Office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She says government is now striving to rebuild the economy to find means to address the decline that Liberia faces, saying “Our post-Ebola recovery is underway.” President Sirleaf hopes that “we” can get back on track with the programs and the Agenda for Transformation, though she admits it’s going to be a hard challenge to get the Vision 2030.

She promised to working with Ambassador Nordstrom in strengthening ties and deepening bilateral relations between Liberia and Sweden. President Sirleaf expressed confidence in a longstanding relationship with Sweden as she counted many programs that the country supports here, including ongoing farm-to-market roads, governance and accountability at the Ministry of Finance, besides having its contingent serving in the UN Peacekeeping Mission here – UNMIL, among others.

As Liberia goes through the UNMIL drawdown, President Sirleaf said government has timetable and Ambassador Nordstrom will be joining “us” in bilateral meetings and meetings with other partners to make sure the government’s own goals for training its security forces are moving at the pace they should.

Later in the day, President Sirleaf also received the letters of credence of Egyptian Ambassador, Khaira Issa, telling the Egyptian Envoy that Liberia is pleased that his country has been supporting Liberia’s education sector, including awarding scholarships to Liberian students.

She also said Liberia is pleased that doctors from Egypt served in the Jackson F. Doe Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County and has collaborated with other institutions, including the AU and the UN. President Silreaf however encouraged intervention in the private sector, while the Ambassador is here, adding that with natural resources Liberia has … “we like to see our” bilateral and diplomatic relations bring entrepreneurs and business people in Liberia and Egypt to see how they can work together.

In separate responses to the President, the two Ambassadors expressed delight to be here and assured that they would work with President Sirleaf and her government in strengthening relationships between Liberia and their respective countries.

Sweden Ambassador Ms. Nordstrom said she was delighted to be here to work with President Sirleaf and her government.

 By Winston W. Parley -Edited by Jonathan Browne

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