The Federal Republic of Germany has committed to provide more support to Liberia including the attraction of private investments that will help the country in its post Ebola recovery era.
German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Muller, who led a 30-member German delegation to Liberia, made the commitment during a press stakeout jointly held with the Liberian Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan over the weekend at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill.
The Dr. Muller-led delegation, which was co-led by the German Minister of Health, Mr. Hermann Groehe, was in the country primarily to assess the impact of German contribution to the Government of Liberia fight against Ebola and to discuss the possibilities for the strengthening of German-Liberian financial and technical cooperation.
"Like I told the President, this country must not fall into depression now or after the Ebola crisis; that is why we need to make considerable investment in infrastructure and in the agricultural sector… That is why we have taken the decision to double our support in the coming years ", the German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development said through an interpreter. Dr. Muller who emphasized that private investment is paramount to the development of any nation, disclosed that his government will lobby with private sectors actors in Germany to attract private investments to Liberia.
The German Economic Minister and delegation which also included two members of the German Parliament, met and held talks with President Johnson- Sirleaf prior to the stakeout and indicated that; as a result of the excellent relationship subsisting between President Johnson-Sirleaf and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, two important development issues have been included on the agenda of the forthcoming Group of Seven (G7) Conference. Minister Muller named the two important issues as, creating a fair value chain aimed at producing fair standard of production in developing countries and empowering women through technical vocational education
Dr. Muller urged Liberians to continue the fight against corruption by engaging in efficient governance and to further strengthen the rule of law, adding, “These are the basis and required bureaucracy which attract private investment.” He also assured that the Government of Germany will solidify its diplomatic and bilateral ties with Liberia by increasing support to the country's energy, agriculture and education sectors.
The German 30-member team also included two members of the German Parliament and a host of German journalists and civil society actors.
Liberian Foreign Minister Ngafuan, on behalf of President Johnson-Sirleaf and the Government and People of Liberia , conveyed profound gratitude to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Government and industrious people of Germany for their unswerving support to Liberia both during good and bad times: "We in Liberia are not only grateful that officials of the German Government could visit Liberia, but also we take positive note of the size and composition of the delegation, which speaks volumes about the strength of the bilateral relations between our two countries and Germany’s firm commitment to being a stronger partner with our country in good as well as in bad times." The 30-member German delegation which included two members of the German Parliament is the largest German delegation to visit Liberia thus far.
Minister Ngafuan praised the German Government and people for their demonstration of strong solidarity with the Liberian Government during and after the Liberia civil war; and in particular during the critical time of the Ebola Virus pandemic. "Not only did the Government of Germany keep its diplomatic mission operational throughout and including the peak of the pandemic, we were honored to have been visited in September 2014 by Ambassador George Wilfried Schmidt, Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel and by Mr.Walter J. Lindner, German Ebola Coordinator to West Africa in October 2014. It is good to have Ambassador Lindner, back again."
Minister Ngafuan also hailed Germany's announcement of new commitments of GIZ's support in the areas of energy infrastructure for the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric Dam project, as well as in the transport and the health sectors.
He also recounted some crucial German assistance to Liberia including; the rendering of huge service to the fight against the Ebola Virus by German military personnel who departed Liberia in March of this year and the cancellation by Germany of over 300 million Euros worth of debt owed it by Liberia which was one of the biggest debt cancellations of a bilateral partner during Liberia’s march to the Completion Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC). Minister Ngafuan also noted with great delight, the continued presence in Liberia of approximately 30 medical staff of the German Red Cross currently providing humanitarian services and accordingly, would stay in Liberia until the Ebola fight is over.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Germany was also the first European country to reopen its embassy near Monrovia with a resident Ambassador after the Liberian civil crisis.
Liberia has developed a post Ebola recovery and development plan in addition to developing a regional post Ebola recovery and development plan with the other three Mano River Union (MRU) countries.