French President Emmanuel Macron has assured Liberian President George Manneh Weah of his unflinching support towards the Liberian government’s efforts to improve the lives of its people.
During an hour-long special bilateral meeting with French President Macron at the Elyseè Palace in Paris on Thursday, 1 July 2021, the French President told President Weah that his country’s support to Liberia will be tangible so that it is felt by the citizens directly.
Macron said in addition to his country’s efforts at capacity building and youth development, additional urban projects will be undertaken by the Agency for French Development totaling an initial amount of 23 million euros.
He assured Mr. Weah that this assistance will be immediate.
President Macron also informed President Weah that his country will make an immediate donation of some 40,000 test kits and several respirators, adding that France will increase its quota to the COVAX structure.
Mr. Macron also said France will ensure that “Liberia directly benefits and have its population vaccinated.”
He highlighted the strong historical ties between both nations, saying that both leaders ought to work harder in order to ensure the relationship yields tangible mutual benefits.
The talks covered a wide range of issues, including French support to the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) in order to enhance its ability to perform its service in Mali.
The French President also promised more logistical support and training for the AFL and further cooperation in the area of information exchange.
The discussions also covered the issue of piracy in the Gulf Guinea and the need for both nations to cooperate in order to halt the menace.
The French government further promised more equipment and training for the Liberian Coast Guards, adding that the French Navy will study the option of having its Frigates participate in the fight against piracy in order to ensure that vital maritime commerce is carried out unhindered.
In response, Liberian President George Manneh Weah expressed profound gratitude to the government and people of France for the country’s continued support of Liberia’s development drive, especially in the areas of capacity building, infrastructure development, and sports.
President Weah also expressed appreciation for President Macron’s “gracious support” towards Liberia’s engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which he said has greatly contributed to the improved fiscal and monetary policy implementation and efficiency of the country now experiences.
Mr. Weah informed his French counterpart that his administration continues to work in close collaboration with these international financial institutions, “which sometimes require the formulation of difficult policies, such as the Salary Harmonization Policy.”
But he said the policies have been required to make the “necessary corrective measures and structural adjustments” for the good of the Liberian economy.
President Weah called for the continuation of the Franco-Liberia relationship, including the strengthening of collaboration between the French Military and the Armed Forces of Liberia on the Malian peacekeeping mission.
“In this regard”, he said, “it is important to note that the Liberian contingent has now been tasked with providing Base Security for the Timbuktu outpost and, as such, more modern equipment and logistics are urgently needed.”
Additionally, President Weah enumerated the many other support the French government has rendered to Liberia in recent months, including funding for capacity development, sports, the resumption of flight by Air France, the construction of a new building for Alliance Francaise Institute, and the increase in activities by French businesses and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).
Regarding ongoing efforts by the Liberian government to curb the further spread of COVID, President Weah thanked President Macron and the Government and People of France for “generously providing” a number of ventilators and several thousands of testing kits.
He told his counterpart that Liberia would need millions of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines to help fight the spread of the virus.
Foreign Minister Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, Defense Minister Daniel Ziankahn, and Maritime Commissioner Lenn Eugene Nagbe formed part of the discussions which were followed by a closed-door tetè a tetè between the two leaders. Edited by Othello B. Garblah