United States Ambassador Michael McCarthy on Monday, 14 November congratulated the Government of Liberia for passing the 2023 Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard for the first time since 2018. He described this achievement as significant progress, especially in the area of controlling inflation.
But Ambassador McCarthy urged the government to focus on indicators under the “investing in people” category of the scorecard that includes health, education and natural resource protection, which could make Liberia competitive among 66 countries to be evaluated by the MCC Board next month and to, perhaps, become eligible for a potential second compact.
Investing in people is one key ingredient of socioeconomic development that any government that means well should undertake for its citizenry. Development Communication specialists have emphasized that investing in infrastructural development is meaningless or a total waste without a corresponding development in human beings for whom such infrastructures are supposedly meant for.
Human capital is the cream of any country because when the minds of the people are developed, they are like special forces that can invade and subdue any terrain to cope come what may.
The three areas named in this category: Health, Education and Natural Resource Protection are not mutually exclusive. They are interlinked and one cannot do without the other. An educated population that is afflicted with poor health would accomplish much neither can healthy educated people survive in an environment that is depleted of natural resources that God has provided for human existence.
In other words, the Weah administration should not dream of qualifying for MCC compact next year without addressing these key areas.
The status of health and education under this administration is nothing to write home about. Major government hospitals across the country, including JFK, Redemption and Jackson Fiah Doe, among others lack essential drugs and equipment; as a result, citizens are dying of curable diseases. Schools in the country from elementary, junior high, secondary up to tertiary and university levels lack qualified instructors and lecturers, while natural resources are being depleted thru illegal extraction by unscrupulous business people.
This has been acknowledged by Minister of Mines and Energy, Gesler Murray and the President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie. Their admittance points to weak system and compromise that is robbing the country of its natural resources.
Given these challenges, the urge by Ambassador McCarthy needs serious attention from government if Liberia should achieve eligibility for compact that the Weah administration needs so desperately to rapidly drive development.
Consequently, it goes without saying that the government would be shooting itself in the leg if it keeps playing lip service to health, education and natural resource protection, which are very crucial to winning MCC compact.