Outgoing German Ambassador to Liberia Mr. Ralph Andreas Timmermann has underscored that sometimes Liberia needs to show “even more commitment to foreign investors,” provided they respect the laws of the country.
While responding to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during an investiture ceremony held in his honor on Monday, 15 August at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, Ambassador Timmermann complained that there were “unnecessary” hurdles and red tape still facing foreign investors coming to do business in Liberia.
President Sirleaf had earlier showered praises on the German Envoy who is leaving Liberia for a new assignment as head of mission in East Africa, saying his services were exceptional. During his tour of service here, President Sirleaf said German entities have been involved in agriculture work, farm to market roads in rural areas where they are needed most and that in December, the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant would be ready to supply power.
In all of the German contributions, the President says Amb. Timmermann has been there as the intermediary and the person who has stood by Liberia, assuring that her government will work with him. In response, Amb. Timmermann promised that Germany will continue to help Liberians help themselves, having earlier praised Liberia’s performance over the last years as being very impressive in many areas.
“I’m convinced that living conditions have improved for many Liberians,” the outgoing German Ambassador said, citing among other things the “rapid growth of Monrovia” as testimony, while the presence of many more private cars on the roads “also points to greater prosperity for many of its residence.”
Though Amb. Timmermann says many challenges that still remain here, he acknowledged that Liberia today is an amazing and peaceful democratic country given its recent history of war and civil strife, noting “it’s a country with free and very lively and sometimes too lively press and other media.
“In general, roads and other infrastructures are vastly better than they were when you first took office. Soon power will be flowing from the Mount Coffey Hydro, the reconstruction of which has been one of the top priorities of not just your administration, but also for our German bilateral assistance,” he told President Sirleaf.
He said that Germany will continue to expand its longstanding assistance to Liberia’s southeastern counties through German NGOs which have been in the areas for many years. He announced his country’s “ambitious project” together with Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority or FDA to link the Sarpo National Park Liberia to a park on the Ivorian side of the border.
But in his concluding statement, Amb. Timmermann cautioned that as part of the challenges facing Liberia, the country has not yet won the fight against corruption, rape and gender-based violence.
By Winston W. Parley