The new U.K Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. David Belgrove, says he agrees with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on the need to encourage private investment partnership and sees his task as encouraging the United Kingdom private sector to invest in Liberia.
“We very much look forward to working with your government in all of those areas. I will definitely make those my priorities,” he assured.
The UK remains the biggest bilateral donor to the UN Ebola Multi-Partner Trust Fund and has committed to present US$31.8 million. To date, the UK’s contribution to the Ebola fight amounts to approximately US$1 billion.
An Executive Mansion release noted that Belgrove, who earlier served here as the United Kingdom’s Representative in Liberia from 2010 – 2012, expressed his government’s deepest sympathy for the thousands of lives lost as a result of the Ebola Virus Disease; but also expressed his country’s admiration for Liberia having achieved the “Ebola free” status.
He said though at the moment they are a small embassy, he expects to get additional colleagues from the British Department for International Development (DFID) who will work with the embassy and the Liberian Government on its recovery programs and what interventions they make next.
Ambassador Belgrove made the assertion when he presented his Letters of Credence to President Sirleaf in Monrovia as the new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland accredited to Liberia.
Ambassador Belgrove who replaces Ambassador Cochrane-Dyet who departed the country on March 20, 2015, said since the UK reopened its embassy in the country on March 18, 2013, DFID has supported ongoing projects aimed at supporting Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation including further support for infrastructure through the World Bank.
He named Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund; support to the European Union road maintenance project being implemented under EDF10 and EDF11, as some mutual developments the relationship has realized.
“They have also supported the Liberian security sector reform with specific reference to assistance provided by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces to the Liberian army; support to civil service reforms and the Liberia Institute of Public Administration; governance and the rule of law through the African Governance Initiative (AGI) found and sponsored by Mr. Tony Blair”, the release stressed.
Other benefits mentioned include immense contributions to Liberia’s judiciary system and girl’s education by the UK-based Save the Children, an international children’s charity, which has been in Liberia over a protracted period and has reached out to over 180,000 Liberian children facing hunger and poor health conditions.
ActionAid, another UK-based NGO, began work in Liberia in 1996 and at present it continues to provide assistance to Liberia in the areas of food security, women’s rights, HIV/AIDS prevention, governance, education and emergencies.
Liberia–United Kingdom relations have remained excellent since that country recognized Liberia’s independence and extended a hand of amity and support in 1848. UK was the first country to recognize Liberia’s independence at a time when the country needed international recognition to validate its sovereignty and independence.