A high-level Liberian government delegation currently visiting the United States has met with the Director of the U.S. President’s National Security Council, Madam Dana Banks. The delegation discussed a wide range of issues concerning Liberia and the broader West African sub-region with Madam Banks, who is also President Joe Biden’s Special Assistant.
Banks assured the delegation that Liberia remains a strategic partner of the U.S. She outlined key “contours” of the Biden Administration’s policy on Africa.
“This policy will be mutually beneficial to Africa and the US, and Liberia as a strategic partner will be very involved in our strategic approach”, Madam Banks said.
Continuing, she said “some of the key contours of our Africa Policy will be addressing the COVID Pandemic with a focus on assisting countries like Liberia in their economic recovery efforts. We are quite aware of the impact of the pandemic on economies in Africa and will work with countries like Liberia on this front”.
The themes of the discussion included domestic and international security, the MCC Compact, Energy, with a focus on the Liberia Electricity Corporation, the fight against corruption, and the upcoming bicentennial celebration of the arrival of freed slaves.
Banks pledged to work with Liberia in its drive to secure the second Millennium Challenge Corporation’s coveted Compact Program, as she outlined areas Liberia needs to continue making progress that would serve to encourage U.S. policymakers.
On the bicentennial, the U.S President Special Assistant, who has a wealth of experience in Africa, said the U.S. will work with Liberia to ensure the commemoration of this milestone program.
“Ours [policy] is a positive approach and posture towards Africa and we will be with Liberia with historical ties to the U.S. in commemorating the bicentennial,” she said.
Making remarks earlier, both Ministers Nathaniel F. McGill and Samuel Tweah Jr., of the Ministries of State and Finance respectively, who are senior members of the Liberian delegation, heralded President George Weah’s desire for more engagements with Washington.
“We are a country founded by freed slaves from the U.S. and Liberians hold the U.S. in a special place. We are therefore looking for more engagements”, the Liberian Minister of State for Presidential Affairs averred.
For his part, the Minister for Finance and Development Planning, Samuel Tweah, updated Director Banks on Liberia’s economic resurgence, saying economic recovery after Covid is positive and that the government is committed to broader economic and investment climate reforms.
“The projections for our GDP now show that growth will reach about 4-percent”. He said through the “painstaking” macroeconomic reforms the government has undertaken, “we‘ve been able to obtain for the first time in ten years a substantial increase in domestic revenue generation
“The government economic and governance programs are already aligned to the Biden Administration’s Africa Priorities which is heavy on democratic rights.
Tweah said Liberia’s democracy is equal to that of America in terms of respect for term limits and fundamental freedoms.
President Weah even recently campaigned to reduce his length of time in office from six to five years, indicating his strong commitment to democratic values.
Meanwhile, renowned Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, has also welcomed the Liberian government’s delegation to the U.S. Capital. During a visit to his office, he committed to be a strong voice in the U.S. Congress for Liberia.
“ We share something in common, the Lone Star”, the Senator gleefully remarked – referring to the Liberian and the State of Texas’ flags that have the single white star.
“Also like President Weah and key members of the Weah led Administration who come from an underprivileged background. My father was imprisoned for his stance on freedom for the underprivileged”
He said he follows Liberia and will be a “voice for the country too along with Lindsay”-a reference to his congressional colleague Senator Lindsay Graham.
Minister McGill previously told Senator Cruz the story of President Weah who emerged from the underprivileged class of Liberians to become the President of the country. He said this feat by President Weah has not gone down well with the longstanding Political Class of the country who go to lengths to malign and demonize the President.
Minister McGill then extended an invitation to the Texan Senator to visit Liberia and be a part of the bicentennial commemoration in Monrovia next year.
The former Republican Presidential Candidate said he will consider highly the request and could visit Liberia next year
The Liberian delegation is expected to meet with more Biden Administration officials and Congressmen and women across party lines in the coming days.-Dispatch