More Work Needed for Liberia to Achieve Development Goals, Says President Sirleaf

Friday, 17th November 2006

Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says despite some progress in ensuring good governance in Liberia, the country is still behind in the achievement of its goals. The President attributed the trend to “serious dysfunctionalties” that result from years of conflict – a bloated and deskilled civil service, a distorted value system of violence, indiscipline and dishonesty, as well as a lack of confidence in the commitment to reform.

Added to these concerns the Liberian Leader observed, is the risk evolving from the inactivity of a dismantled army and security sector, long in need of restructuring.

To meet these challenges, the President said, the principles of good governance in all its dimensions must be practiced, by ensuring that transparency, accountability and democratic values are more than just buzz words and clichés. It must be acknowledged, President Johnson Sirleaf noted, that these guiding principles are all part of a new emerging political culture not only in Liberia, but in other countries that share similar social, political and economic realities.

President Johnson Sirleaf was speaking on Wednesday when she addressed the opening session of the European Development Day Forum in Brussels, Belgium.

Meanwhile, the President has called for a reexamination of the dynamics of the relationship between donors and recipients to ensure the relationship is more mutually beneficial, as government puts into place measures that strengthen governance on the domestic front.

The President observed that human resources being the most valuable resource of any nation, human recovery and human development are the best way to ensure that development assistance is sustained in the long run and would alter the quality of life in a positive way for citizens.

In a related development, President Johnson Sirleaf says accountability must be a “two-way street” between the recipient and donors. “Recipient governments must be transparent, but we must respond to the demand of our people that we get the same level of accountability from donors,” Madam Sirleaf urged the European Development Day Forum.

The Liberian government the President said, remains grateful for the generosity of the international community in the country’s transition from war to peace and the current state of reform being supported by its partners, but observed that it is unclear how much money is being spent by bi-lateral and multi-lateral organizations in the name of Liberia.

“In other instances, some of the development programs of the donor community do not necessarily fit into our own domestic development agenda, largely because home governments are not always involved in the planning stage for many projects, especially those implanted by international non-governmental organizations.”

In order to make the partnership more effective, President Johnson Sirleaf noted, some of these methods of doing business must change.

The President, who left the country Tuesday evening, has been participating in the European-African Forum. While in Brussels, the President sought to obtain early commitments from the European Union on Donor pledges, as Liberia prepares for next year’s Donor meeting in Washington. The President returns to the country today.