Vice President Boakai Assures U.S. Congressional Delegation

Monday, 17th August 2009
Monrovia, Liberia - Liberian Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has assured the visiting U.S Congressional delegation that Liberia’s resolve to rebuild and institute systems for the betterment of the country is ‘unwavering and unpretentious.’

He observed that the three branches of Government--Legislature, Executive and Judiciary--are working collaboratively with the citizens' support to attain this goal.

“More than ever before, the future of Liberia is brighter than it was five years ago. This Government has produced a Poverty Reduction Strategy or ‘Lift Liberia Plan’ which addresses all of the major steps to improve the well-being of our people and restore their hope from a hopeless situation,” Vice President Boakai said.

He was speaking on August 16 at a reception he tendered in honor of the visiting United States congressional delegation. The five-member delegation headed by Representative George K Butterfield of North Carolina is in the country to discuss economic and commercial issues with Government leaders and other relevant parties.

The delegation, according to the United States Embassy in Liberia, has particular interest in bilateral trade and investment and the effects of the global downturn on Liberia.

The Vice President said the Unity Party-led Government has restored Liberia’s international dignity and image from a “failed state” to a respected member of the comity of nations, adding, “We are now amongst the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, and we have erected a sound fiscal regime to fight corruption and graft.”

Vice President Boakai, however, informed the visiting congressional delegation that serious challenges still persist in providing more employment for the nation’s youth, most of whom were exposed to violence as a result of the 14-year civil conflict, thereby acquiring no skills.

Vice President Boakai further assured the congressional delegation that Liberia has rich natural resources and that the country is seeking partnership based on mutual interest to exploit these resources. He added that “all of these can be achieved if we accelerate our efforts to build fruitful partnerships with the United States, which is Liberia’s primary partner.”

The Liberian Vice President applauded the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Africa in July this year, describing it as “an opportunity to open a new chapter in US-Africa relations,” and urged all African countries to take concrete steps to explore that opportunity.

He observed that the histories of the United States and Liberia are inextricably linked and that Liberia values its relationship with the United States, which is built on the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights, good governance and world peace. “Today, I reiterate that the indissoluble bond that exists between the United States and Liberia cannot be broken.”

Other members of the U.S. congressional delegation were: Representatives Steve Cohen of Tennessee; Lacy Clay of Missouri; Gwen Moore of Wisconsin; and Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas.

The reception was attended by Government officials including :the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olubanke King-Akerele; Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Dr. Eugene Shannon; Commerce and Industry Minister Miata Beyselow;  and Minister of Agriculture, Florence Chenoweth.

Others present were Bong County Representative Edwin Juah and Rivercess County Senator Jonathan Barney, among others.