US advises Liberia on economy

United States Ambassador to Liberia Christine Elder has told President George Manneh Weah that he needs to open up the country’s economy to attract economic growth.

The US diplomat said such broad reforms and bold steps to inhibit corruption are needed to transform the business climate, attract domestic, regional and foreign investments that will grow the economy and seek further fiscal and monetary stability.

“Mr. President, your government shoulders significant challenges; chief among them jumpstarting the economy – which is the only sustainable path to lifting people out of poverty. We share your government’s sense of urgency to move the country forward in its development,” Amb. Elder said Wednesday at events marking the observance of the 242nd Independence Anniversary of the United States observed here at the Embassy in Monrovia.

Amb. Elder notes that successful economies in Africa have mastered a balancing act that creates a combination of laws and incentives that deepen the relationship with companies that are cornerstones of their economies and attracts new business while providing governments much needed revenues and creating jobs – especially for youth.

According to Amb. Elder, Liberia will attract investment and jobs by opening its economy, not by narrowing it. She earlier said America’s largest projects help build Liberia’s infrastructure by improving roads and access to electricity and the internet – three sectors that she says have been the potential to transform this nation.

“Our programs to strengthen the security sector are providing Liberians confidence that their own forces can protect them and their freedom from external and internal threats,” she says.

Madam Elder adds that the U.S. programs that enhance access and quality in the healthcare and education sectors aim to remove artificial constraints to progress imposed by illness or an inadequate education system.

She concludes that the U.S. was proud to work with Liberia and her partners in preparation for the historic elections, helping capacitate the security sector, the National Elections Commission, the media, the judiciary, political parties and civil society so each could play its essential role.

Responding, Liberia’s President George Manneh Weah acknowledged with great appreciation, the many initiatives undertaken by the United States International Development programs which promise great possibilities for the socio – economic development of Liberia.

Beyond these programs, Mr. Weah acknowledged that the U.S. has supported the Decentralization and Deconcentration Program, agriculture development, rehabilitation of roads, power infrastructures through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact grant and other financing facilities.

President Weah says the support of the U.S. to the consolidation of peace and security in Liberia has been key in strengthening the country’s democratic processes and expanding the political space for all Liberians.

He says the U.S. steadfast support was an important factor underpinning the historic presidential and representatives elections that resulted to a peaceful transition of power between civilian authorities, the first time in more than 70 years.

He also expresses gratitude to Amb. Elder for her personal role in further bonding a special relationship and for the manner in which she is coordinating the partnership between Liberia and the U.S.

Having reflected on the relationship and values shared by Liberia and the U.S., Mr. Weah says Liberians are not only friends of America, but share a common history, replete with the struggles that bind both nations and remind them that they are family.

Mr. Weah congratulates the People and Government of the United States of America on their 242nd Independence Day, and thanks them for their sacrifices in supporting Liberia thus far.

By Winston W. Parley and Bridgett Milton-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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