Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh, has on behalf of the President of Liberia, Her Excellency Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, expressed the thanks and gratitude of the Government and people of Liberia to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the capacity development program and scholarships extended to Liberia which have helped to strengthen the post-war country’s educational sector.
According to a dispatch, Ambassador Conteh particularly referenced programs under the Nigeria Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) that have built the capacities of Liberian public administrators at the Liberian Institute of Public Administration (LIPA), and young Liberian petroleum engineers and material scientists at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) located in Abuja.
“Our thanks are also due to the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) and its partners, the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), the African Development Bank (ADB), and the Nelson Mandela Institute”, the Liberian Ambassador said.
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Ambassador Conteh spoke on “The Experience of Liberia as a Beneficiary of an NTCF Grant” during a one-day symposium held in Abuja on Tuesday, August 1, 2017. The symposium marked the NTCF’s 10th Anniversary of its First Life Cycle from April of 2004 to April, 2014.
The Liberian Envoy said Liberia’s experience as a beneficiary of the NTCF Grant must be seen in the broader context of the post-conflict nation’s development agenda to transform its educational sector.
According to Ambassador Conteh, the NTCF grant which implementation he described as very satisfactory on the overall, was very helpful in preparing 14 Liberian students for the country’s new petroleum sector and mining sectors: “Between 2013 and 2016, cooperation of the AUST and Government of Liberia, via the DTCA produced 14 graduates in the fields of Petroleum Engineering and Materials Science.”
The 14 Liberian students have undergone graduate studies at the AUST in Abuja in three batches since 2013. He noted that the pioneer Liberian student completed his study on record time with a Master of Science (M.SC) degree in Petroleum Engineering and went to work for the National Oil Company of Liberia. He was among 64 other Africans who received graduate degrees in various scientific disciplines from the AUST at its Fourth Commencement Convocation on May 4, 2013.
“Batch 1 students returned and were all absorbed by the Government of Liberia and the private sector. A female graduate [among them] is now a lead road engineer of the Government at its Ministry of Public Works. A few of them are teaching science courses at the University of Liberia’s College of Science and Technology and the Cuttington University. At least one was admitted to pursue the Ph.D. in Materials Engineering in the United States”, Ambassador Conteh said.
He continued, “The second batch of nine students also successfully completed their studies at record time. The only female in the second batch graduated with high marks. A third batch of four students (three males and one female) also completed the program recently”.
The Ambassador then disclosed that the Embassy and the AUST have also agreed on the modalities of nominating a new batch of students for graduate study in Petroleum Engineering and Materials Science at the AUST.
The AUST and the Embassy of Liberia started active discussions about a capacity building initiative for the training of Liberian professionals and trainers in petroleum and natural gas engineering. The overall objectives of the program were to provide Master’s level training for 18 months per training cycle to 20 Liberian professionals and trainers in Petroleum, Petrochemical and Natural Gas Engineering, Mineral Processing and Materials Science and Engineering, Evidence-Based Policy Formation and Public/Business Administration.
The origin of the programs is traced to 2007 when Liberia submitted a proposal to the Federal government, through the DTCA for a capacity building program for the Liberia Institute of Public Administration (LIPA), under the NTCF. The request, which was approved in 2012, helped with enhancing the public sector of Liberia and assisted with its recovery process. The programs were implemented by the Administrative staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria.