Vice President Bokai Meets African Diplomats in Beijing

Wednesday, 8th July 2009
Vice President Boakai shakes hands with Egyptian envoy to China.
Vice President Boakai shakes hands with Egyptian envoy to China.
Photo Credit: Press and Public Affairs/Office of the Vice President

Beijing, China - Liberia's Vice President Joseph N. Boakai on Tuesday evening met with African diplomats accredited to the People's Republic of China at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

In remarks at the ceremony, the Liberian Vice President challenged the diplomats to learn the good things from China which, he noted, has attained unprecedented level of development 60 years after independence,, adding, "Learn from these people so that our countries will be able to cater to their citizenry, especially the younger generation who are the future of any nation".

"If China which has a population of more than a billion can provide for its population, how about us with smaller populations?," he added.

Vice President Boakai challenged African countries participating in the upcoming Expo 2010 which will be held in Shanghai to plan and participate well so that Africa too will be recognized as a Continent on the move.

He noted that Liberia which is celebrating 162 years of independence this year has nothing to show compared to China.

Vice President Boakai catalogued the numerous challenges facing post-war Liberia, from a huge debt burden to a generation of youth who are unprepared to shoulder the mantle of authority tomorrow because many of them did not go to school to prepare themselves due to the civil conflict.

 The Liberian Vice President also cited challenges occasioned by the global economic crisis which is posing a serious threat to the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy, otherwise known as "Lift Liberia".

"We have a government in which 12 parties are represented. This has made it difficult to  reach a consensus on issues and pass necessary legislations on time, because opposition parties deliberately oppose government decisions to make it look bad in the eyes of the electorate," Vice President Boakai further lamented. He however added that all this is helping the country forge a new democracy that posterity will be proud of .

 He said despite these challenges, the Unity Party-led government, headed by Africa's first elected female president who comes to the office with a wealth of experience, knowledge and contacts, is transforming the country.

"In just three years, the national budget has increased from US$80 million in 2003 to US$ 347 million in 2008. School enrolment has increased with the inception of free primary education, there is electricity in many parts of Monrovia today, and 80 percent of Monrovia residents now have access to pipe-borne water supply, roads are being reconditioned and teacher training institutions are reopening," adding, "Liberians have regained their dignity and people are now feeling a sense of relief".

Vice President Boakai cautioned African diplomats to learn from the experiences of  Liberia,  which is graduating from nearly two decades of conflict that has retarded its growth and development.

He thanked African diplomats who, he noted, sometimes go through difficult conditions at their missions, for their sacrifices.
He thanked African countries for supporting Liberia during its conflict years, especially those who sent troops to bring an end to the mayhem.

Speaking on behalf of diplomats accredited to Beijing, the Dean of African Diplomatic Corps in China, Togolese Ambassador Ta Ama Ana welcomed Vice President Boakai, and said his visit to China will not only be in the interest of Liberia, but Africa as a whole.

He said he believes that Vice President Boakai's interactions with Chinese authorities will yield concrete results for Liberia and Africa as a whole.

"We appreciate your visit, because you are not only here to represent Liberia, but Africa as a whole," the Togolese envoy emphasized.

In welcome remarks earlier, Liberia's Ambassador accredited to China, Madam Neh Dukuly Tolbert observed that Liberia is loved and respected by the diplomatic corps because the current leadership has served their country well.

Also in remarks, the Sierra Leonean Ambassador accredited to China, Mr. Abdul Karim Koroma said his country and Liberia are both emerging from devastating civil wars, and that seeing the Vice President of Liberia in China, is an indication that the two countries are once again picking up.

Mr. Koroma hoped that the leadership qualities being demonstrated by the current generation of African leaders will continue to be manifested throughout the continent.

Present at the ceremony were: Second Lady Kartumu Y. Boakai, Liberia's Ministers of Planning and Posts and Telecommunications, Messrs Amara Konneh and Jeremiah  Sulonteh respectively, Assistant Foreign Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs George Wisner and Chief of Staff Samuel Stevequoah.

Also present were diplomats from Egypt, La Cote D'Ivoire and Ghana , among others.