A member of a visiting US Congressional Delegation to Liberia and Representative to the UN, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, says she “truly” believes that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will “get many, many offers to take [and hold] positions” involved in United Nations.
“… And she is a leader not only here in Liberia, but I will say to the whole world. I [am] representing the United Nations and my district and I truly believe that she will get many, many offers to take [and hold] positions involved [in] the United Nations,” the New York Rep. and UN Envoy, Ms. Maloney told journalists in Monrovia Thursday, 11 August. The Congressional Delegation was led to Monrovia by influential US Congressman Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, to assess Liberia’s progress and commit to partnership between the two countries.
Though Rep. Maloney did not point to a particular job awaiting President Sirleaf, she, however, remarked that the Mrs. Sirleaf, who is currently chairing ECOWAS, was a leader not only in Liberia, but “to the whole world.”
Earlier, the head of the delegation, Congressman Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, told journalists in Monrovia that the delegation was very impressed by the new laws that are being passed in Liberia and the new approach that is being taken regarding implementation of Power Africa and President Sirleaf’s desire to ensure that there is agricultural reform in the country.
“And what we’re trying to do is to say to her and to Liberia that we are here as partners,” the Senior Democrat on the African Sub-committee in the US Senate told an interview here Thursday.
For her part, US Rep. Karen Bass of California extended congratulations to President Sirleaf for making sure that Liberia is part of Power Africa and to rebuild the electricity infrastructure because it is key to development.
Regarding Liberia’s political transition, she expressed hope that it will be a peaceful transition in 2017 and that there will be fair and transparent elections, saying “and that will be my encouragement to the country to make sure that it is peaceful, to make sure that is a stable transition of leadership.”
President Sirleaf had earlier expressed thanks to the delegation and to the US government for its longstanding support to Liberia’s progress, saying her administration has been particularly supported in its reconstruction effort by the US.
Mrs. Sirleaf said that there was a multiplicity of challenges that her government faces that it has to continue to work on, though progress is being made to be able to achieve its targets.
She said Liberia had seen a lot of progress until 2012 and 2013 when the country’s growth was at nine percent, and government was looking forward to double digit in keeping with its Agenda for Transformation contained in Vision 2030.
By then, she indicated, Liberia had already been faced with the 2008 Global Financial crisis that stalled some of the government’s investments, followed by declines in prices of the country’s two major exports – iron ore and rubber in 2013 and the Ebola crisis, among others.
But she noted that Liberia was trying to now shift to the agricultural sector after many years of depending on the extractive industry, noting that “we are starting the diversification into oil palm, with operations already ongoing.
President Sirleaf said her government was now focusing on small farmers in the agriculture sector, and was getting a lot of support from the US through USAID. Notwithstanding, President Sirleaf said infrastructure was Liberia’s major constraint right now, citing roads and energy, though she says government has been trying to work on it in the midst of interruption caused by rain.
In the area of health and education, she said, the government was building the health system, trying to improve on hospitals in the counties; while also building more schools, train more teachers and support vocational and technical schools, among others.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen