The Swedish Government and the Ecowas Commission Office here have signed a US$1.2 million grant on the transitional support to Ecowas Radio.The Swedish Embassy and the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) represented the Swedish government at the ceremony Wednesday, 21 November in Monrovia in an effort to help strengthen and build the capacity of the radio station.
Addressing a cross section of dignitaries and key development partners at the UN House on 1st Street, Sinkor during the ceremony, the Special Representative of the Ecowas president Ambassador Tunde Ajisomo said the 1.2 million agreement is meant to strengthen, and build the capacity of Ecowas Radio and its staff.Ambassador Ajisomo says the discussion that led to the signing of the agreement started long ago.
According to him, occasion for the signing of the agreement would not have been possible without the strong commitment displayed by both the Ecowas Commission team and the Swedish Embassy including SIDA.He recalls that they started about six months ago and it has now materialized.
He notes that the Commission achieved the agreement because of the numerous support they received.According to Ambassador Ajisomo, the purpose of the grant is to provide transitional support which will enable the radio to promote local peace building initiatives as well as provide capacity for the staff of the radio with the view to expand the radio facility to all Ecowas members states.
For her part, Swedish Ambassador to Liberia Madam Ingrid Wetterqvist says what was being witnessed was an extension of a transitional phase from UNMIL to a real developmental phase.She says the role UNMIL Radio played here in Liberia cannot be underestimated when it comes to sharing information, educating and sensitizing.
During the transitional period, she says she understands that this was a more reliable source of information of the country.The Swedish envoy says the role of the media is to provide fair process, but cautions that it should be done in the way that considers a peace building that comes with contagious issue she adds.
“I like to confirm this 1.2 million grant is a transition support, and this has been going on long time, and hopefully this radio is going to be transitioned very well,” she says.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by members of the Ecowas Commission, AU, USAID, WFP, UNHCR and other key partners including the Swedish Ambassador, US Embassy Representative among others.
By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley