Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says an estimated US$2 billion will be needed over the next few years to build more resilient public services, deliver basic infrastructure and create jobs in the sectors where Liberia, with its resources, has a comparative advantage.
An Executive Mansion release issued here Wednesday said Blair also appealed to the international community to rally around Liberia to turn a year of turmoil into a decade of progress.
Blair cautioned that the impact of Ebola will not stop with the final case, noting that the fragile economy has been severely battered, harvests hit and livelihoods lost.
He expressed pleasure working with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her government, noting that his foundation, African Governance Initiative (AGI), supports the government’s priorities.
Blair made the statement Wednesday at the President’s residence on the second leg of a two-day West African tour of countries worst affected by the Ebola virus.
He had arrived from Sierra Leone and was expected to visit Guinea next.
“I would like to congratulate the President and her team for the leadership they have shown and coordination with international partners,” Mr. Blair pointed out, adding that he was proud that AGI has been of support in those efforts.
Responding, President Sirleaf thanked Mr. Blair, patron and founder of the AGI, and his team for standing by Liberia during the Ebola crisis.
“More recently, with the difficulty we faced with Ebola, you have stuck with us. The team has not left thereby demonstrating courage and confidence in our country,” she said.
“Thank you Tony for always being there, for having a team that has continued to work with us and to enable us to achieve our planning and productive goals,” the Liberia leader observed.