The Governments of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire are expected to today hold the second Joint Commission meeting between the two countries in Monrovia.
According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs release, the three-day meeting, which takes place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be held in two phases: technical working sessions on Monday and Tuesday, August 28-29, 2017 and a ministerial meeting on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 to be climaxed with the signing of a Joint Commission Framework Agreement by the Foreign Ministers of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire respectively, Her Excellency Ms. Marjon Kamara and His Excellency Mr. Marcel Amon-Tanoh.
Both countries held the first Joint Commission meeting in Monrovia 45 years ago, in 1972, following which so many agreements, including peace and security and economic integration were signed with the aim of strengthening bilateral relationship.
As members of the Mano River Union basin (MRU), with shared natural resources, it was envisaged that both countries will benefit from the comparative advantage that each has. Moreover, it was intended to foster free movement of people, the exchange of ideas, goods and services and form a common front in alleviating some of the many developmental challenges faced by both countries.
The two sub-regional neighbors enjoyed strong bilateral cooperation particularly in education through student exchange program; agriculture through farmer cooperative network and crops exchange; health through dental and medical professional deployment as well as very strong cross border trade. However, due to the years of civil crises, which engulfed both countries at different intervals, not much was done to implement the principles of the agreement.
Nevertheless, based on mutual desire to reactivate the agreement, Liberia, in July 2016, submitted eleven memoranda for cooperation to the Ivorian Government for review and consideration. The Ivorian Government, while accepting areas for proposed cooperation by Liberia, added nine more areas for cooperation, thereby bringing the total number of cooperation to 20.
After a careful review and analysis of the potential areas within the Ivorian proposal, and given the short life span of the administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following consultations with line ministries, identified four priority areas.
Both countries have now agreed to focus on the general framework of the agreement and five technical areas which include: technical vocational education, sanitation and urban development, agriculture, maritime delimitation, and energy (electricity).