Ambassador Kemayah Calls for Practical Actions to Address Illicit Exploitation and Trade in Natural Resources as a Driver of Conflict in Africa

Amb. Kemayah

(New York, June 1, 2019)  His Excellency, Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations, is urging United Nations Member States to endeavor to promote ownership and facilitate transparency and accountability in natural resource management and governance at the national level.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council Working Group  Meeting on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, Ambassador Kemayah said it was now time to address the illicit exploitation and trade in natural resources in Africa and ensure the optimal use of such abundant resources to benefit the citizenry.

According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations, Ambassador Kemayah noted that the illicit exploitation and trade in natural resources continue to be a key driver of conflict in Africa; fueling and prolonging violent conflicts with implications for national, regional and International peace.

The Liberian Envoy said while natural resources can serve as a critical national asset to lift citizens out of dire economic situations into sustainable development, the experiences of many countries have clearly demonstrated the opposite; with illicit extraction of natural resources benefitting a few individuals, and illegal international syndicates, at the expense of communities that own the natural resources– leading to poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation and the elusive quest to realize Africa’s full developmental potential.

Ambassador Kemayah recalled how the illicit exploitation of  Liberia’s many natural resources; especially timber and diamonds, fueled and prolonged the civil conflict in the country through the financing of war machinery of the various factions, at the detriment of the citizenry.

Ambassador Kemayah informed the meeting that the new Government of Liberia was committed to peace and was already working to ensure that the Country’s natural resources ; including, but not limited to, iron ore, gold, diamonds, natural rubber, and forest benefit the citizens. ” Today, within the framework of our national development plan, “The Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), the Government of Liberia under the astute Leadership of His Excellency President George Manneh Weah, seeks to engender a more peaceful and united society that enables economic transformation and sustainable development; an inclusive and accountable public sector for shared prosperity; through transparency and improved natural resource governance.” Ambassador Kemayah stressed.

At the regional level, the Liberian Ambassador to the United Nations called for reinforcing the African Union  Flagship initiative “Silencing the Guns in Africa,  under the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which he described as an embodiment of normative framework(s) and tools for conflict prevention.

Ambassador Kemayah then stressed the need for more frank debates and interactive discussions at the global level; as well as practical steps and measures to curb the illicit exploitation and trade in natural resources, while encouraging the proper management and governance of Africa’s natural resources for the benefit of Africa.

Chaired by South Africa, “The United Nations Security Council Working Group  Meeting on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa: the illicit exploitation and trade in natural resources as a key driver of conflict”; discussed the current trends in conflicts and considered options for conflict prevention, management and resolution.

From Vivian Gartayn Lombeh |Minister Counselor/Press and Public Affairs | Liberia Permanent Mission to the United Nations -Tel: (212) 6871033/1034 Email:

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