Pres. Weah: Don’t Forget Liberia
President George Weah has acknowledged the enormous tasks ahead of his government. The Liberian leader has therefore stressed the need to build a stable and sustainable peace and ensure that the dire socioeconomic situation does not undermine the hard-fought gains of the past 15 years.
He reiterated that Liberia’s economy is broken and that the government is broke.
According to the World Bank, the gross domestic product per capita was $455 in 2016. Inflation is at 15 percent and rising, and unemployment is at record highs. The U.N. human development index ranks Liberia 177 out of 189 countries.
“We are determined to move forward. The core of my efforts will be helping the worst off in Liberia. Education will play a central role in pushing the economy forward. We are rebooting our educational system so that everyone can have access to quality education. I am disbursing funds to enable our 12th graders to take the standardized West African Examinations Council examination and attend universities across the region,” President Weah indicated.
He mentioned that the most effective way to improve the lives of the poor and reduce inequality is to ensure that government officials do not skim public resources.
He intends to use legislation and build upon the current code of conduct to limit conflicts of interest involving government employees, enhance transparency over public processes and punish violators.
The President revealed that there is drafting of legislation to make ministries more effective and efficient in addressing the specific challenges they face.
He disclosed that the government is being decentralized to make it more accessible to the people.
“We are reforming our land rights regulations to ensure equity for all Liberians. We are investing in infrastructure and roads to improve connectivity across the country and promoting agriculture to ensure self-sufficiency and nutrition for all,” he noted.
To sustain a peaceful and stable Liberia, President Weah his government is examining ways to strengthen national integration by enacting laws promoting national unification.
He said government is working on reforming the judicial system to ensure the basic rights of all citizens are protected.
He believes it will require sustained engagement from both my government and the citizens of the country.
President Weah pointed out that the country needs the assistance of its friends outside Liberia. He said building a stable, prosperous, democratic Liberia in the heart of West Africa is firmly in the interests of all nations, including the United States.
To ensure economic growth and make Liberia attractive for investment, the President has committed himself to removing unnecessary regulations and bureaucratic hurdles.
“We need urgent reforms in a number of areas, including removal of restrictions on dual citizenship and regulations that limit land ownership to Liberian citizens. Liberia is open for business and my government will take every measure to support economic growth and bring prosperity to all our people,” he said.
But, for him, Liberia needs continued support from her international partners.
He called on the rest of the world not to forget Liberia as it moves from recovery to development.
“We are not asking for charity; we are looking for a chance. We need partners to walk with us on the road to progress and development,” he concluded.
President Weah, a former international football star, was inaugurated on January 22, 2018 after he beat then Vice President Joseph Boakai in a stunning election runoff to replace Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female President.
President Weah has rags to riches story as he was born in Clara Town, a slum in Monrovia.
Drawing on his own experience growing up in an impoverished area, Weah campaigned on improving the economy and eliminating corruption.
To a population where 80 percent of people are trying to get by on less than US$1.25 a day, those promises were compelling.
Many Liberians regard the 51-year-old as a hero for his incredible rags-to-riches tale.
In 2002, Weah retired from football and three years later made his first bid for the presidency, running against Madam Sirleaf. Although he lost to Madam Sirleaf, he remained politically active.
The last time Liberia saw a peaceful transition of power was in 1944. William Tubman replaced then-president Edwin Barclay at the time.
But with Weah’s election, the country seemed to be holding up hope as its standard, and other African nations are taking notice. Dignitaries and heads of state from several African countries attended the swearing in ceremony.
Still, for all his promises, President Weah has a lot of work to do. Liberia is still reeling from a recent Ebola outbreak that left thousands dead, and it is still heavily dependent on exports. It won’t be an easy task to bolster the economy there, but so far, with a peaceful beginning, Weah is thought to be off to a better start than many of his predecessors.