LIBERIA: Amara Konneh Turns Down CBL Post, Accepts World Bank Offer

A local daily in Monrovia has reported that the ‘imminent departure of Minister Amara Konneh who was widely rumored to have been penciled in for the coveted Central Bank of Liberia position’, has reportedly turned down the of Executive Governor of the Central Bank Liberia post earlier promised by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, noting that he is not interested in running for public office.

According to report, Minister Amara Konneh has reportedly accepted a senior position at the World Bank, becoming the latest high-profile departure from the administration after he was selected through a competitive managerial selection process to become Manager, Fragility, Conflict & Violence CCSA, at the World Bank office in Nairobi and is expected to start work in May.

PFA in its report say it is unclear whether President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has accepted Minister Konneh’s resignation from the government or whether the position was sanctioned by her. But Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah contacted late Thursday by FrontPageAfrica acknowledged the report but said the discussions are still ongoing.

Mr. Piah explained that the minister had not resigned. “Resignation? No!. The truth is the World Bank has indeed offered Minister Konneh a position, the details of which are still being discussed. The President is fully aware and more information will be given to the public when Minister Konneh, who is out of the country returns to Liberia.”

Minister Konneh joins the Bank after nearly a decade of service with the government of Liberia, most recently as Minister of Finance and Development Planning since February 2012. The minister previously served as Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs and Head of the Presidential Office of the Liberia Reconstruction and Development Committee. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Vanguard Group as Project Manager as well as the International Rescue Committee in Guinea as Education Coordinator.

Minister Konneh holds a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and a Master in Management Information Systems from Pennsylvania State University.

Minister Konneh apparently has been plotting his exit for some time now. The position, FrontPageAfrica has learned was advertised from May 2015 on the World Bank website.

The role of the World Bank Group in Fragility, Conflict, and Violence which Minister Konneh will be heading is to address issues related to Fragility, Conflict, and Violence (FCV) is critical for the World Bank Group (WGB) to achieve its twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. “Recent developments have further highlighted the complexity of this agenda, its multifaceted nature, its relevance beyond the Low Income Countries, and its regional dimensions,” according to the job description.

The vision of the WBG is to eradicate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in every client country. To achieve this vision, the Bank’s strategy has three components: (1) maximizing development impact by engaging country clients in identifying and tackling the most difficult development challenges; (2) promoting scaled-up partnerships that are strategically aligned with the goals; and (3) crowding in public and private resources, expertise and ideas.

The FCV Nairobi Office was established in 2012 and has taken a lead role in providing operations support to country teams and relevant GP task teams, in order to strengthen the relevance and quality of the WBG’s engagement in FCV countries – with engagements on a broad range of topics including strategic-level advice, country-level programming, needs assessments, policy advice, conflict sensitivity, financing, and operational issues. The FCV Nairobi Office is also leading and managing a series of institutional partnerships, with client groupings (especially the g7+), regional institutions, and bilateral.

In his new role, Konneh is expected to play a substantial advocacy and support role te world’s fragile and conflict affected countries in the context of the IDA negotiations and deliver on the Bank’s cooperate initiatives in those countries.

The imminent departure of Minister Konneh who was widely rumored to have been penciled in for the coveted Central Bank of Liberia position makes it unlikely that that will be the case. Minister Konneh, according to Executive Mansion sources turned down the offer and have reportedly indicated to President Sirleaf and vice president Joseph Boakai that he is not interested in running for public office. Konneh has been in the mix of speculations as a potential running mate to both opposition figures George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change and Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party.

Minister Konneh becomes the second Finance Minister in the Sirleaf-led government to leave for an international financial institution. Economist Dr. Antoinette Sayeh accepted an appointment as the Director of the African Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on July 14, 2008.

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