President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has been accompanied to Monrovia by a team of Japanese parliamentarians on an assessment visit upon the climax of the-ended Sixth Summit of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development or TICAD held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Addressing journalists at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County on Monday, 29 Augusts, President Sirleaf said the parliamentarians were actually here in Liberia to see Liberia’s progress on projects and programs undertaken by the Japanese over the years, as well as engage entities monitoring and managing these programs.
In their follow – up visit, she said, the parliamentarians see the result of such programs and “how we can strengthen” the Liberia – Japan relations even more, adding that the immediate follow- up visit tells the state of the relationship between Liberia and Japan.
Regarding recommendation from the Summit for countries to promote sustainable and inclusive livelihoods and manage shocks aimed at addressing social stability, President Sirleaf indicated that those were general statements made and each country will now look at it in the context of its own development plans for its own programs.
The President suggested that if there is any country or area that has suffered shock, it was the Mano River Union or MRU or the entire ECOWAS countries that have suffered so many shocks, particularly due to Ebola and decline in commodities.
Already, she noted, the Japanese usually provide the financing and technical support, and it is now up to each to go about and take advantage of the facilities that Japan will make available.
She described Liberia – Japan relation as very good, saying Japan is supporting Liberia on infrastructure program, energy and roads, and that they would also do things in the agriculture sector.
Having cited such Japanese support to Liberia, President Sirleaf suggested that any added program from Japan will just enable Liberia to move further. President Sirleaf concluded that it was a great moment to see TICAD V being held in Africa, saying Japan now says that Africa now come of age and it Africa can take its development into its own hands.
She said it signifies that Japan now sees Africa as a full partner in development and in international affairs.
By Winston W. Parley