Weah recounts Liberia-U.S. historic relationship
-at U.S.-Africa Summit
By Jonathan Browne
President George Manneh Weah says Liberia has a long and historic relationship with the United States that has led both countries to hold common positions on issues such as democracy, human rights, global peace and security.
Addressing the United States-Africa Leaders’ Summit Tuesday, December 13, 2022, in Washington, DC, President expressed optimism that the Summit will strengthen said partnership with the U.S. and increase both countries’ commitment to foster stronger cooperation in seeking their respective broad interest specifically and the world at large.
“This Summit”, President Weah notes, “should also reinforce our continued true partnership and friendship with the United States. This should enable us to re-define and reset our urgent priorities in economic, social, and political engagements that will serve as the reinforcement of our genuine commitment to democracy, human rights, transparency and good governance.”
He says Liberia believes that such engagements between Africa and the United States will improve and strengthen bilateral and multilateral relationships, foster peace and security on the continent of Africa.
Some 40 leaders from the Continent, including Liberia’s President Weah, are currently in Washington, at the invitation of U.S. President Joe Biden for the Summit that generally seeks to further strengthen already existing cooperation with African countries. The engagement is also aimed at solidifying America’s influence in Africa amid serious ongoing race by China to stamp its presence on the Continent, as the world’s second-largest economy.
Meanwhile, President Weah observes that with millions of African descendants and immigrants in the diaspora, it presents a vast reservoir of talent, training, expertise, and financial capacity which must and should be utilized to enhance the advancement and development of Africa, challenging African governments to create the enabling environment and requisite framework that will allow young Africans in the diaspora contribute, through their education and innovation, to the transformation of the Continent.
“Our brothers and sisters in the diaspora are indispensable partners in the development aspirations of our various countries. We must welcome them. We must embrace them. We must recognize them. Africans in the diaspora and Africans in Africa are one people”, Mr. Weah continues.
He says this collaborative effort will serve as the bridge connecting Africans in the diaspora back to their collective roots and cultural identities.
“It is therefore incumbent upon us as leaders to recognize and acknowledge the significance of these many millions of our compatriots living in the diaspora communities, whose contributions are pivotal to the growth and development of our continent.”
He adds that although physically separated from the motherland, diaspora-based young Africans have a major influence on the socioeconomic, cultural, and political landscape of their respective countries, which should not be overlooked or underestimated.
According to him, it is in recognition of the value of Liberian diaspora community that at the inception of his administration nearly five (5) years ago, he embarked on the process of removing restrictive laws to encourage the Liberian diaspora to contribute more to the development of the country.
“Today, I am pleased to inform you that, in July of this year, I signed into law an Act authorizing dual citizenship and allowing women to pass citizenship to their children. By so doing, my administration has now removed all legal barriers which had prevented natural-born Liberians from rightfully resuming citizenship of the land of their ancestors. ONCE A LIBERIAN, ALWAYS A LIBERIAN!”, President Weah informs the Summit.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the Africa Leaders’ Summit runs from December 13-16, 2022, with sessions ranging from African and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum, Civil Society Forum, African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Trade Ministerial, U.S.-Africa Space Forum, and Peace, Security and Governance Forum, among others.