•President Sirleaf lauds strong ties with Nigeria
By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Federal Government has commended the government of Liberia for its immense recovery and the level of development and stability attained following the Ebola crisis in 2014 and the devastating civil war that ended 13 years ago.
This was stated on Friday by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffery Onyeama, during the joint celebration of Liberia’s 169th Independence Anniversary and Flag Day by the Embassy in Abuja.
Onyeama said that the independence day is a time for accountability and noted that Liberian government has been able to overcome these challenges to ensure that its stable enough for sustainable investment and development.
The minister also noted that the bilateral and diplomatic relations between the two countries has been growing stronger and expanding.
He said: “The celebration of national day is like giving accountability of the journey so by the government to the people. The most important thing is that Liberia has stabilised now and there is peace.
“There could not have been development and economic growth without peace and like I said, Liberia has stabilised. We also enjoy and continue to enjoy great diplomatic relations with Liberia.”
In the same vein, the President of the Republic of Liberia, and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in a speech read by the Ambassador of Liberia to Nigeria, Al-Hassan Conteh, gave a historical perspective and challenges of the country in its 169 years of nationhood.
Sirleaf listed the major challenges that derailed the country’s development in the modern era to include the coup d’état of 1980, two civil wars between 1989 and 2003, and the Ebola crisis of 2014.
“The coup d’état and civil wars caused tens of millions of dollars destruction of property and infrastructure, over 200,000 deaths, and over a million refugees and Internally Displaced People. The Ebola crisis saw the demise of close to 5,000 Liberian citizens in 2014,” she said.
She said that despite these adversities, Liberia has been resilient under a dedicated leadership, vibrant community response, and support from the international community.
According to hern the dynamic leadership since 2005, has led to more than US$4 billion in debt relief, and the lifting of UN trade sanctions that gave Liberia access to the international market.
The Liberian President said that her administration solidified relations with regional partners and the international community, attracting significant foreign direct investment in mining, agriculture, forestry, and off-shore oil exploration.
She added: “Unfortunately, the Ebola scourge of 2014 reversed the gains in the economy that affected production and the drop in the prices of primary commodities.
“Since the WHO declared Liberia free of Ebola on May 9, 2015 and twice subsequently, Liberia has embarked on a post-Ebola development strategy within the context of the country’s development strategy known as the Agenda for Transformation (AfT). The priorities of the AfT include rebuilding the health system, infrastructure development, and consolidating the progress towards the transformation of Liberia, in order to reverse the negative trend in falling economic growth.
“This will renew Liberia’s momentum of sustainable development that would enable the country to attain middle income status by 2030. Liberia is now open for business and investment. “