Exclusive: Liberian President-elect Weah tempers expectations, plans agriculture push

Edward McAllister|

President-elect George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) speaks during an interview with REUTERS at his residence in Monrovia, Liberia, January 2, 2018. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

(Reuters) – Liberian President-elect George Weah on Tuesday set modest goals for his six-year term, calling for Liberia to start exporting crops and repairing decrepit infrastructure, in his first interview since winning election last week.

President-elect George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) speaks during an interview with REUTERS at his residence in Monrovia, Liberia, January 2, 2018. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Weah rode a wave of youth support to capture more than 60 percent of the vote in last Tuesday’s run-off, but he will need to manage expectations as he attempts to revive one of Africa’s worst-performing economies.

Later this month, he will replace President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power since 1944.

Seated outside his unfinished new house on a quiet dirt backstreet near the capital Monrovia, where a concrete sign announces, “Friends of Weah say welcome”, the 51-year-old ex-soccer star began to tentatively fill in some of the gaps in his vague campaign promises.

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