In Canada, President Sirleaf Stresses Need for Strong Strategic Partnership

Saturday, 31st March 2007
Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has spoken of the need to forge and build a strong strategic partnership to ensure that government is more responsive in delivering quality services to the Liberian public. In an address at the University of Toronto on Thursday, the President said she was in Canada to seek that country’s influence in working with Liberia’s partners to extend to the country the same debt relief opportunities that have been given to other African countries.

The President pointed out that as government engages in enhancing partnerships, her government will continue to improve its capacity and mechanisms, to strengthen donor support coordination, harmonization and disbursement of funds; “to deepen our work with partners in formulating and adjusting our strategies, programs and policy priorities.”

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader expressed the hope that as confidence grows in the country’s ability to manage its economy effectively, government will benefit from donor’s direct budget support, so as to strengthen national ownership and management of the budgetary process.

The President reiterated government’s development strategy which she noted is embodied in an Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy based on security, economic revitalization, and infrastructural development as well governance and rule of law. The strategic interventions within the four pillars, the President emphasized, are guided by the principles of social and political inclusion and participation of all Liberians irrespective of ethnicity, religion, and class.

Meanwhile, President Johnson Sirleaf has again attributed Africa’s problems to the quality of its leadership rather than the scarcity and under-capacity of its human capital.

The Liberian leader said she is convinced that Africa’s backwardness and the continent’s decline has been due to a tragic case of asset stripping of its leadership potential through wars, genocide, exile and brutal repression. The President maintained that she continued to remain in the political arena over the last thirty years, because of the strong desire to serve a people who deserve better than that which they have received in Liberia’s recent past.

The President assured the people of Canada that her government and its people are committed to building a new Liberia from the ashes of a turbulent past, to a future of hope and promise, adding, “we need Canada’s support.”  The President re-echoed her call on Canada to become an important supporter of helping Liberia rebuild its health and education programs.

President Johnson Sirleaf has now left Canada and returns to the country tomorrow following a brief stop-over in the United States on a private visit.

Read full text of President Sirleaf's Address.