Accra, Ghana - The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, with support from the Liberia Embassy in Ghana, through its Ambassador, H.E. Genevieve A. Kennedy, has conducted a two-day Diaspora Consultative Meeting with Liberians at the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Accra, Ghana, and also with Liberian Business Entrepreneurs at the Liberia Embassy in Accra.
The consultations were held for two days, from May 27 and 28, 2018, at the Buduburam Refugee Camp and the Liberia Embassy, respectively, under the theme: “Promoting a Participatory Development Planning Process”.
The Diaspora Consultations are aimed at promoting citizens’ participation in the development of the next five-year medium term National Development Plan to succeed the Agenda for Transformation, which expired in 2017. A cross-section of Liberians at the Buduburam Refugee Camp and Liberian business entrepreneurs were involved in the discussions on where they hope to see Liberia in the next five years.
Speaking during the consultations at the Philadelphia church in Ghana, the Liberian Ambassador to Ghana, Ms. Genevieve A. Kennedy said President George Weah’s number one agenda is to focus on the poor people and eradicate poverty in of Liberia. Ambassador Kennedy added: “now we have agenda that look at poverty in our nation, we are going to be members of the defending group that will look at the problem and find solution to those problems that give rise to poverty in Liberia.”
Ambassador Kennedy further indicated that the consultations were intended to obtain the views of Liberians in Accra regarding the development agenda, as well as their concern and thoughts on how to move the pro-poor agenda by addressing the four pillars of the President. She described the occasion as an opportunity for Liberians to voice out their concerns on the issues and challenges, and make recommendations to advance the pro-poor agenda.
For his part, the Assistant Director for Monitoring and Evaluation in the Division of Development Planning, Mr. James Afif Jaber, described the National Development Planning Diaspora Consultations in Ghana as inclusive and participatory, which provided Liberians in Ghana the opportunity to plan to actively contribute in the formulation of the development plan for the next five years. Mr. Jaber said the participants were hopeful that the plan, if executed, will improve Liberia.
Mr. Jaber asserted further that the findings obtained from the consultations will form part of the plan in the formulation of pro-poor policies leading to the development of Liberia’s next five-year medium term national development plan, that will directly impact and lift the lives of citizens out of poverty and help reduce the disparities or inequalities among the people in terms of employment and income.
He noted that the Pro-Poor National Development Agenda will focus on four pillars, with pillar one focusing on education and training, health and sanitation, gender equality, youth reorientation and empowerment, and physically challenged and senior citizens. Pillar two will deal with sustained economic growth, agriculture and forestry, and infrastructure and development (roads, energy and transportation). Pillar three will focus on justice and human rights, reconciliation, security and national defense and veterans; while pillar four will deal with decentralization of institutions and systems, accountability and anti-corruption, and foreign policy and diplomatic relations.
According to Mr. Jaber, the consultations were well attended, meaningful and successful. He then called on the Government of Liberia to consider the recommendations provided by Liberians in Buduburam, and the Liberian business entrepreneurs, all of which are very crucial for encouraging investment and improving the country.
For their Part, Liberians and Business entrepreneurs in Accra, Ghana, said the new administration of President Weah should connect county capitals with paved roads, strengthen the education system, provide adequate training for teachers, improve technical vocational education in the country, provide instructional materials for all public schools in order to enhance the learning environment.
They urged government to construct housing facilities for teachers, deliver health services to Liberians and provide adequate training for health workers. They also called for the provision of adequate supplies for health facilities, and the construction of housing facilities for health workers.
The participants of the consultations described access to electricity, clean and safe drinking water, environmental protection, safety, the creation of job opportunities for all Liberians as key contributing factors to the growth of the economy.
The business entrepreneurs and investors lauded Government for its effort in ensuring the success of the pro-poor agenda. They also cited friendly business environment that is conducive for investment, the timely clearing of goods or containers from the Freeport of Monrovia as Government priorities that are critical to the generation of additional revenues.
They called for the reduction in costs imposed for the clearing of goods at the Freeport of Monrovia, a renewed commitment to the fight against corruption at the highest level, and the eradication of bribery at border crossings.
The Diaspora consultations were attended by a delegation of the Liberian Embassy and Liberian Ambassador to Ghana, Ms. Genevieve A. Kennedy, a team from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, over 271 Liberians from Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, over 42 Liberian business entrepreneurs, Ghanaian entrepreneurs with investments in Liberia and potentials Ghanaian investors.