South African Ambassador H.E. Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley and Foreign Minister Amb. Marjon V. Kamara hold bilateral talks at the Foreign Ministry Photo Credit: Public Affairs South Africa’s Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley, has highlighted the need for more and better collaboration between his country and the Liberian Government.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the South African envoy made the assertion when he paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara to congratulate her on her recent preferment and to discuss bilateral issues.
During their deliberations, according to the relese, Ambassador Moodley told Foreign Minister Kamara that they at the South African Embassy were very much interested in further promoting and strengthening diplomatic ties between both countries.
“We are here to support your democratic transition in any way possible and support those social development initiatives that you are undertaking [and will undertake],” he indicated, adding that they would like to support the country’s Agenda for Transformation.
He further informed Foreign Minister Kamara that his courtesy visit was to also tell her about the African Union’s Vision 2063, which stresses the aim of promoting more intra-African relationship. The South African envoy said “Relationships can’t just be being good friends; it has to go beyond that with intra-African trade and intra-African economic activities, including support for peace and security through intra-African structures and countries in Africa.”
He disclosed that his Embassy was working with other government parastatals, including the National Investment Commission (NIC), Ministry of Health, as well as the National Elections Commission, among others, to provide capacity-building to some of its employees.
Citing his government’s assistance, Ambassador Moodley said they recently extended an invitation to seven health researchers to be trained in South Africa this June and July on research methods, particularly in blood sampling and other testing.
He also spoke about collaborating with the Liberia’s College of Physicians in securing a Memorandum of Understanding with South African advanced training institutions to train health practitioners. The South African envoy noted that his Embassy has also held discussions with authorities at the Ministry of Transport (MOT) concerning rail and water transports.
He lamented that most times, response from the Liberian side has always been slow in coming. The South African Envoy highlighted peace and security as a primary concern, considering events in Burkina Faso, Mail and most recently neighboring Cote d’Ivoire. He promised bilateral cooperation on matters of security, in the wake of UNMIL drawdown.
He promised that whatever they could do to further strengthen the bilateral ties, they would. He named Lone Star Cell MTN, Ecobank and others as some South African companies helping the Liberian economy.
He also stressed that large amounts of South African nationals were at ArcelorMittal and Aureus Mining in Grand Cape Mount County working in the mining industry in Liberia.
Ambassador Moodley appealed to Minister Kamara to follow-up on an outstanding MOU scheduled to have been signed with a South African company for the renovation of the dilapidated Ducor Palace Hotel and the establishment of agro-processing industries in the country.
He did admit that the process commenced in 2014, but was halted due to the Ebola crisis. He pleaded with the Foreign Minister to impress on heads of other agencies of government to always keep the South African Embassy abreast with development issues.
Responding, Foreign Minister Kamara said she was pleased that South Africa has got interests in Liberia. She stated that the Ducor agreement was long overdue, assuring that she would bring it to the President’s attention.
“We will have to make sure that these processes come to fruition,” the Foreign Minister assured, stating that one higher priority was the memo between the South African embassy and the Post-Graduate Medical College.
She mentioned peace and security as paramount to this government’s interest, especially in the wake of UNMIL drawdown. She promised to talk to heads of others agencies and ministries so that a platform for such discussions with the South African Ambassador to flourish.