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President Weah Hails Millennium Challenge Compact’s Impact on Liberia

(Monrovia, Liberia):  The President of the Republic, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, says is administration and the people of Liberia are satisfied with the impact of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC). The Compact, implemented by the Millennium Challenge Account Liberia, has ended its work after jumpstarting the country’s electricity and road sectors.


President Weah acknowledged that Liberia was fortunate to have been among a very few countries that was eligible for a Millennium Challenge Compact.
 

The President said Liberia’s selection puts it in what he terms a “privileged group of beneficiary countries that have performed with distinction,” in terms of democratic rights and the control of corruption as reflected in the MCC country scorecard.
 

He spoke Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at the closing program of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) and the commissioning of the new Raw Water Pipeline in White Plains, Mount Coffee.
 

He highlighted significant impact the Compact has had on the Liberian economy such as major growth in the energy sector with increased access from 4% to 12 percent, with over 82,000 customers being connected to the national grid.
 

He recalled: "As direct impact of the Compact, which provided funding to the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission  (LERC), mainly the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant, the country's  generation capacity has more than doubled, while LEC staff are better trained to meet the demands of a modern electrical network and a demanding customer base.”

 

As a direct result of the Compact, the President indicated that the LERC is fully functioning, promising that it will have full budgetary support provided by the Government of Liberia in the next fiscal year.
 

“The establishment of this Commission marks a turning point in our energy sector as it creates an enabling environment for private sector participation,” Dr. Weah noted, adding, “We see the private sector as an engine for growth and as a means to meet the future energy demands of our economy."
 

He said the support of the Compact to the electricity sector, mainly the LEC, has been critical.
 

President stated: "As a country we have struggled since the end of the civil conflict to put the LEC back on its feet and to make the LEC commercially successful. The Compact support to the Management Services Contract with the Irish company ESBI aims to making LEC more viable. Government will continue to work with ESBI for the duration of its contract to ensure that this happens."

 

President Weah indicated that the Compact also facilitated a new approach to road maintenance by enabling evidence-based maintenance planning.
 

“We now have a Road Asset Management System that will be regularly updated with data on our roads, which will allow us to develop annual road maintenance plans. Our road maintenance program will be funded by the National Road Fund, which will ensure sustainable financing of our road projects,” said the Chief Executive.
 

He continued: “Today, we will commission the raw water pipeline, an $18.5 Million component of the Compact that will deliver raw water from Mount Coffee to the water treatment plant at White Plains. This raw water I understand will be free of salt intrusion that takes place in the St. Paul River basin, thus improving the quality of water that will be supplied by the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation to Monrovia and its environs.”
 

He however bemoaned commercial losses LEC is enduring due to power theft, while also recounting progress made to combat the situation through the power theft law that makes stealing power a criminal offence.
 

“We are working to enforce this law, and I must use this opportunity to inform all Liberians and communities that stealing power is illegal and criminal and the Government will not hesitate to prosecute those who are in violation of the law,” said Dr. Weah.
 

He also directed the LEC management and the Ministry of Justice to cooperate in enforcing the power theft law, stressing “It is my understanding that the LEC has organized community programs to prevent power theft.”
 

He called on all Liberians to play their parts to stop the leakage of revenue to the LEC, pledging that the Government is committed to doing its part.

 

President Weah also said the Millennium Challenge Compact grant of $257 Million marked a significant high point in US-Liberia relations, stressing that it represents the largest non-emergency assistance ever given to Liberia by the United States.
 

According to the President, the Millennium Challenge Corporation enjoys broad-based bi-partisan support within the US Congress, stressing that it makes the compact a true reflection of the support of the American people to the people of Liberia.
 

“This significant support brings along with it an urgent responsibility to build upon the gifts of the American people by ensuring that the projects undertaken are protected, used for their intended purposes, and managed in a sustainable manner," he asserted further.
 

He assured the people of America that his government would prioritize the due care required of the investments made under the Compact.


President Weah declared that Liberia would not remain complacent with only one Compact, but will make it its mission to strive for a second compact, as other countries have done before.
 

The President said he has directed the MCC Compact Eligibility Committee to work closely with the US Government and MCC to enable us to qualify for another Compact in the future.
 

As Liberia moves toward a new compact, he said there is a need for the current Compact to come to a successful close by addressing all outstanding challenges. 
 

He named the lack of transformers and meters as two of several challenges hampering distribution of power,  stating that the Government, through the LEC, is now providing transformers to various communities and meters to many homes.
 

He urged the LEC Management to move very fast on installing the new meters because this lack of meters is part of the power theft story.
 

The President used the occasion to recognize the efforts of the government's teams in successfully implementing the compact, under the able leadership of the MCC Resident Country Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the Liberia Millennium Challenge Account.
 

He extended profound appreciation to the People of the United States for what he calls "gracious and transformative gift, which is in full alignment with our national development program."
 

He pledged that that the government will continue to work diligently until every Liberian is lifted out of the cycle of poverty which is the hallmark of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) in keeping with the focus of the Compact.
 

He thanked current Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the 53rd Legislature for initiating and rectifying the compact.
 

The President also recognized the efforts of former US Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas Greenfield and former Ambassador of the United States of America, Madam Christine Elder.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENT ON CONSULAR ACTIVITIES: Documents, Visas and others...In the Wake of the COVID Lockdown

 

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Pres. Weah Bags Grand Commander Award in Freetown …Hailed for Service to Humanity

(Monrovia, Liberia): The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 bagged Sierra Leone’s prestigious honor, Most Distinguished Grand Commander of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The Liberian Leader was also hailed for peace and service to humanity.

 

President Weah received the honor during Sierra Leone’s 60th Independence Day celebrations in Freetown on April 27, 2021.

 

“Brigadier General (Rtd), Dr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and on behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone award the most distinguished honor of Grand Commander of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the President of the Republic of Liberia H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah for his passionate drive and commitment to fostering peace, stability and democracy in the Mano River Union and the West African sub region at large,” the citation read.

 

Continuing, the citation of the honor said, “you are soccer legend and Global Ambassador for Peace. Today’s award recognizes your selflessness and resourcefulness in contributing to the attainment of peace in Liberia which also has a far-reaching effect on neighboring sister Republic of Sierra Leone.”

 

“But equally important is your tireless march alongside your peers of the Mano River Basin and the ECOWAS Community to promote sustainable peace, stability and socioeconomic transformation in the Subregion in order to improve the quality of life of your people,” Dr. Weah was further praised.

 

The people and government of Sierra Leone also recognized President Weah’s government agenda which focused on peace and security, economic revitalization, infrastructural and service delivery, Governance and the rule of law.

 

“We salute you for your enduring service to the world, the Subregion and your country. Today, we celebrate a great African, an enduring personality, role model, and philanthropist, President George Manneh Weah,” were some fond words of the Liberia amidst cheers from audience. 

 

Similar honors were also bestowed upon Presidents Nana Danquah Nana Akufo-Ado of Ghana, Alpha Conde of Guinea, Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau and Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

The Liberian Leader was among West African leaders that witnessed and participated in Sierra Leone’s 60th Independence celebration activities on April 27, 2021.

At UN Peacebuilding Meeting on Liberia- Foreign Minister Kemayah Highlights Women Participation In Gov’t

Liberian Foreign Minister H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has said women empowerment in Liberia is reflected at the highest level, disclosing that women constitute 65% of Assistant and Deputy Ministerial posts in government, including two female Associate Justices on the beach of the Supreme Court.

   Speaking recently at the One United Nations House, Kofi Annan Conference Room in Monrovia, Minister Kemayah informed participants at the Liberia Configuration of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission that women empowerment in Liberia is reflected at every level of society.

   Minister Kemayah intimated that he can cite Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia and Africa’s First Female President, and the current First Female Vice-President, Her Excellency Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor, as unique examples of how women have served at every level.

   He applauded His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and Liberia’s Feminist-In-Chief, who continues to relentlessly support the empowerment, growth and development of girls and women in Liberia.

  The Liberian Foreign Minister made these remarks at the virtual ambassadorial-level meeting of Liberia Configuration of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, along with international partners with focus on promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality in Liberia.

  He said the focus of the meeting is purposeful, and remains germane to the peacebuilding agenda.

Minister Kemayah indicated that the government of Liberia deeply welcomes this meeting, especially that “it obliges us to reflect on the gender strategy adopted by the Peacebuilding Commission in September 2016, aimed at ensuring a more structural and systematic integration of gender perspectives across its work."

   Speaking further, Minister Kemayah stated that the Peacebuilding Fund’s investment in this essential domain serves as a thrust to the process of achieving national healing, reconciliation and the peacebuilding priorities.

   He noted that with such support, Liberia has been able to realize, among others, the establishment of gender desks in all security-related institutions, and a growing number of female personnel in the Liberia National Police and the Armed Forces of Liberia, some of whom are serving on United Nations peacekeeping missions in Mali and South Sudan.

   “His Excellency President Weah, in furtherance of his commitment to advancing gender equality and protection of women, championed and supported to the fullest, the passage of the Domestic Violence Act, the Local Governance Act and the Land Rights Act, all of which are gender sensitive," Minister Kemayah explained.

   "And in his response to issues regarding rape, His Excellency President Weah adopted a vigorous approach to deal with the issue. He declared rape a national emergency; appointed a Special Prosecutor for Rape; set up a National Sex Offender Registry; established a National Security Taskforce on SGBV, and allotted an initial amount of United States Two Million Dollars to help combat rape and other forms of SGBV across the country," Minister Kemayah added.

   He said under the directive of His Excellency President Weah, the Liberian Government, with support from partners developed an Anti-SGBV Roadmap 2020-2022. 

   "It is our understanding that this roadmap will need funding for appropriate implementation," the Foreign Minister said.

  According to him, in spite of the hurdles the nation faces in attaining its goals regarding the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution, the women of Liberia have long gained recognition. 

   He recalled that in 2003, Liberian women acted in a heroic manner and form to end the civil upheaval in Liberia when they embarked on a sustained mass campaign for peace and democracy, including in Ghana, which lasted until 2005 in Liberia. 

   "They forced warring parties and other stakeholders to negotiate and broker a peace deal referred to as the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” Minister Kemayah reflected.

   For her part, the Executive Director of the Liberia Crusaders for Peace, Ambassador Julie Endee, who outlined the role played by Civil Society Organizations (CSO), said CSO is complementing national peacebuilding and women’s empowerment intervention efforts.

   She said this is being done through a platform of four civil society organizations, meaningfully contributing to the democratization process of Liberia through elections monitoring, and electoral reform issues including support for affirmative actions to address the issue of women’s underrepresentation in Liberia.

   She disclosed that this initiative is being financed by the Carter Center and the Swedish government.

The Liberia Crusaders for Peace boss further indicated that the UNICEF-EU Spotlight Initiative – aimed to address barriers to women and girls realizing their rights and to ensure that they live a life freed of violence and all forms of Harmful Practices (HPs). 

   According to her, this effort is also being financed by the European Union through UNICEF.

For his part, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia, Mr. Niels Scott commended Liberia’s effort in strengthening women empowerment and gender equality, including women's meaningful participation in elections, noting that he is also excited to see women represented at the ECOWAS regional level.

   Mr. Scott said on the issue of women under representation, they will support the process of strengthening the laws of Liberia through the Legislature to enact the 30% gender equitable bill at the National Legislature.

   In separate remarks, several ambassadors commended the government of Liberia for the progress being made on several fronts, including gender equality and the empowerment of women and ensuring that women have a voice on national issues. 

   The meeting was attended by several dignitaries to include Hon. Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection; Madam Marie Goreth Nizigama, UN Women Liberia Country Director; and German Ambassador Hubert Jäger, among others.

   H.E. Ms. Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations and Chair of the Liberia Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), presided over the meeting.