The new United States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Ann Elder, says the United States recognizes that one of the greatest challenges facing Liberia is re-establishing the economic growth interrupted by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
This, she intimated, is not just an issue of recovery, but also an issue of depressed world markets for the commodity sectors upon which Liberia depends.
The United States, she said, is making a significant contribution to this recovery through the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact to support rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee power plant and revitalization of roads key to increasing markets.
“To complement the Compact, we will align roads programs under USAID and power program under Power Africa. I commit to you that I will seek the necessary support to repair the runway at Roberts International Airport as a vital link to economic growth,” she reassured.
She said the United States cooperation with Liberia and its neighbours on health programs has been unparalleled in the modern era; indicating that the Ebola PREVAIL studies show an excellent example of what can be achieved through cooperation on crucial research to benefit not only Liberia, but the world.
“The opening in Liberia of a permanent presence of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reflects our long-term commitment to working with Liberia to strengthen the health system. Under the Global Health Security Agenda, we expect to work with Liberia in fulfilling a comprehensive five-year plan, including expanding essential lab capacity and developing protocols for rapid reaction to emerging infectious diseases,” Elder noted.
She said through the PEPFAR Program, the United States was able to augment medical education through a new Peace Corps Program that will bring doctors and nurses to Liberia to train medical personnel.
Meanwhile, the US envoy has said the National Elections Commission (NEC) has proven its ability to carry out free and fair elections.
She, however, observed that they will face new challenges as they mobilize logistical infrastructure previously available through the U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Said Ambassador Elder: “Our Mission has already begun planning and implementing our election-related programs and will expand our programming as the elections draw near.”
Amid Liberia’s Presidential election, Ambassador Elder renewed the United States’ commitment to strongly work with the administration of President Sirleaf and the people of Liberia to help ensure a just and peaceful transfer of power.
She said Liberia is ready and capable of doing so.
Touching on education, the U.S. diplomat assured that the visit of First Lady Michelle Obama will further echo President Sirleaf’s sentiments on education and highlight the importance of equal access to education for all members of the Liberian society.
According to the U.S. envoy, Liberia will prosper only through an educated workforce pointing out that the United States will support Liberia’s education efforts through its USAID and Peace Corps programs.
Concluding, she said the key to ensuring Africa and Liberia’s youth bulge becomes a powerful asset, versus a challenge, is to educate this generation to become a capable workforce attracting private industries.
She said this asset must productively engage citizens who feel a responsibility to contribute to making their communities and public sector operate more transparently and efficiently