2015 Press Releases
Monday, 9th February 2015
Monrovia, Liberia - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has lauded the International Charity Samaritan’s Purse and its Liberian Partner Eternal Love Wining Africa (ELWA) Hospital for their immense support to Liberia in the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which has claimed more than 3,000 lives in the country.
Vice President Boakai said during the outbreak of the Ebola virus in March last year in the country, Samaritan’s Purse was one of first international humanitarian organizations that began partnering with the Government of Liberia in fighting the epidemic.
V.P. Boakai made the recognition over the weekend at his Rehab Residence in Paynesville at a private dinner he hosted as a farewell in honor of Dr. Will Elphick, who has ended his tour of duty as head of the ELWA Hospital. Vice President Boakai praised Dr. Elphick for his diligent services to Liberia, for which the Vice President noted he will always be remembered. He serenaded Dr. and Mrs. Elphick, reminding them to take Liberia as their home to which they were always welcome.
Speaking further, Vice President Boakai acknowledged his Government’s long standing relationship with the two institutions. He reiterated the Government’s continued commitment to the cooperation with them. Honorable Boakai gave specific thanks to the Samaritan’s Purse for being the first to have constructed an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Monrovia, adding that the philanthropic Organization, the ELWA Hospital and other medical institutions have helped greatly in the reduction in cases of Ebola in the country.
In response, Dr. Will Elphick thanked Vice President Boakai, the Government and people of Liberia for their support over the years. He also thanked the staff of ELWA Hospital for the cooperation given him as head of that Institution in the ongoing construction of the new ELWA Hospital Complex, which will boast of a doctors’ compound. He disclosed that a new Radio Studio edifice was at the same time being constructed by ELWA.
For his part, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Matthew Flomo, who represented the Minister of Health, expressed his Ministry’s thanks and appreciation to Samaritan’s Purse for the Charity’s continued support in the fight against Ebola in Liberia. The Deputy Minister made special emphasis on the bringing into the country of a 747 jet plane loaded with Ebola preventive materials for distribution to hospitals across the country.
The dinner was graced by a representative leadership group of Ministry of Health, the ELWA Hospital and the Samaritan’s Purse were guests at a dinner tendered in their honor at the residence of the Vice President on the evening of Saturday, February 7, 2015.
Among other key personalities gracing the occasion were Samaritan’s Purse Acting Country Director, Dorothy Blie, Assistant Health Minister and Head of the Incident Management System Tolbert Nyenswah, Incident Management System Logistics Coordinator James Dorbor Jallah, ELWA’s Dr. Joseph Wankollie, Time Magazine's “Person of the Year,” Dr. Jerry Brown, ELWA International medical Staff and Ebola Survivor Dr. Rick Sacra, as well as Ebola Vaccine Study (PREVAIL) Co-Investigators Dr. Stephen Kennedy and Dr. Fatorma Bolay.
Monday, 2nd February 2015
Monrovia, Liberia - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai says that developing nations grappling with youth unemployment issues need effective strategies and interventions to adequately address the situation that has the proclivity to undermine peace and stability in those countries.
Vice President Boakai noted that a whole generation of Liberians since 1979 when the rice riots took place followed by series of political and military upheavals leading up to the 1990 civil war that span over 14 years, the youth of Liberia at the time, who are now adults do not have any experience of a peaceful and prosperous society and that something has to be done to address this problem.
Vice President Boakai made these remarks Friday when a four man delegation of the World Bank accompanied by Liberia Youth Empowerment Program officials from the Ministry of Youth and Sports paid a courtesy call on him on Capitol Hill to brief him on the status of discussions surrounding the creation of job opportunities for the Youth of Liberia.
He told the delegation that stakeholders in these discussions have to speed up the process and to identify areas of intervention that will be clear and impactful on the youth population through the creation of job opportunities.
The Vice President spoke of agriculture as the area with the most potential and went on to name carpentry, masonry, poultry, food processing, and other areas that could make immediate impact on the lives of the youth if partners collaborate with the Government and speedily take steps to addressing youth unemployment problems.
In his briefing, the head of the World Bank delegation Mr. Suleiman Namara, informed the Vice President that the World Bank has ten million dollars for the youth program in Liberia and that it is important to find a way to engage in these programs quickly in the different intervention areas that could bring long term benefit to the youth of Liberia.
Mr. Namara added that they were also engaged in discussions with the European Union on this matter.
The World Bank delegation hailed the Government of Liberia for the level of progress made thus far in the area of youth development and spoke of the high level of collaboration between line ministries and the World Bank.
2014 Press Releases
Friday, 12th September 2014
Monrovia, Liberia - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has challenged all Liberians to work together to eradicate what he calls this devastating disease that pose a great threat to the political, economic, cultural and social fabrics of the Liberian society describing these times as stressful and fearful.
He said it is important that all work together with partners to get rid of this epidemic in order to continue with the national development agenda for the improvement of the lives of the people.
Vice President Boakai was speaking Friday during the official launch of the WASH Strategy under the auspices of the Liberia Water Sanitation and Hygiene Sector with the theme Wash Ebola Away at the Ministry of Public Works here.
The strategy is aimed at reaching out to communities to create awareness on the prevention of the killer disease specifically in Montserrado and Lofa Counties.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of President Sirleaf, Vice President Boakai said the outbreak of the virus caught the nation and the world unprepared and as a result Liberia took concrete and serious steps for the eradication of the menace which include the setting up of the task force on EVD control and prevention, the declaration of the state of emergency to create condition to tackle the spread of the virus, allocating financial and other resources to the fight, engaging the international community on a way forward and mobilizing local security forces to help in the process amongst others.
Vice President Boakai stressed that the virus is costing a halt to all development projects, reducing our level of commerce and trade, diminishing government’s ability to raise money and affecting the core of our very existence as a nation state.
He went on to say that current statistics, the death toll and scientific projections by international partners are very alarming pointing to the fact that more has to be done and more resources have to be deployed.
Thursday, 11th September 2014
Vice President Boakai Commends Health Workers Termed them as Courageous and Resilient in War Against Ebola; Meets Catholic Archbishop Lewis Zeigler to Express Sympathy for Death of Health Workers at C
Monrovia,Liberia - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has described health workers who are on the frontlines of the war against the deadly Ebola virus as courageous and praised them for their patience and resilience in handling the outbreak under enormous pressure in a country that has never experienced such a health challenge in its history.
He said the health workers deserve to be commended for what they and our international partners are doing for the nation in these very challenging, demanding and difficult times.
Vice President Boakai was speaking in Congo Town Thursday when he paid a visit to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to appreciate the work of all health workers in the fight against the killer disease and to consult with Health authorities on the road map for the eradication of the virus that has claimed hundreds of lives in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Speaking during his visit at the Ministry, Vice President said He was working along with international philanthropists to secure supplies that will help boost efforts of Government and international partners in the fight against the Ebola virus. He mentioned that by the end of September three forty foot containers estimated at 1.4 million United States dollars will arrive in the country with supplies for hospitals and ebola treatment centers donated by Reverend Trevor Cockings of His Church, an International Charity based in the United Kingdom.
Vice President Boakai hailed the role of international partners in the fight against the virus and called for concerted regional approach to rid the region of the disease, adding” We all have to work as a region to fight the virus”, given the porous borders between the three countries.
Vice President Boakai shared the report of his visit to Bong and Lofa Counties which is dominated by issues of the ebola outbreak and measures to contain the virus as well as challenges facing local health workers in the two counties.
In his response to the Vice President, Health Minister Walter T. Gwenigale informed Vice President Boakai that an effective protocol for the handling of the ebola outbreak is being put into place and when completed it will serve as a guide by partners who are coming in to help. He said Liberians have been successful in treating people who were tested and confirmed positive with the virus.
Both Vice President Boakai and Health Minister Gwenigale agreed that the best way out of the ebola crisis is for Liberians themselves to go out and disseminate the information on the killer disease rather than outsourcing the campaign to those who do not know the terrain.Dr. Walter Gwenigale spoke of the enormous challenges that lie ahead in rebuilding the health sector when the deadly disease has been eradicated from the country. The meeting was attended by deputy ministers of the MOHSW.
Meanwhile Vice President Boakai has consoled the Catholic Church in Liberia for the loss of some of its staff to the deadly virus. In a meeting at the Catholic Secretariat where he had gone to offer his condolences to the Catholic Church, Vice President Boakai recounted the numerous contributions of the Catholic Church in the health, education and others sectors. He mentioned the A.M.Doggliotti College of medicine that has been training medical doctors in Liberia for many years and the Catholic Hospital as classic examples of the Catholic Church’s involvement in Liberia’s nation building process.
In response, the Most Reverend Lewis Zeigler Archbishop of Monrovia said they were greatly honored by the visit of the Vice President to the Church’s headquarters and for the condolences expressed. Archbishop Zeigler said despite criticism concerning the handling of the ebola outbreak in the country, the Government of Liberia was doing a great job, given the fact that the nation was not expecting this situation and that the ebola was something that we know nothing about in Liberia. He congratulated those who are teaming up with the Government to eradicate the killer virus from the country. He pointed out that all efforts were being exerted to reopen the Catholic Hospital noting there is a team already on the ground that is assessing the situation and two more are expected in the country soon.
The Health Coordinator of the Catholic Church, Yah Wynn-Gausi appealed to the Government of Liberia through Vice President Joseph N. Boakai to include all health workers regardless of where they are assigned to be included on the list for incentives like the government workers.
Vice President Boakai noted the concern and said that health workers throughout the country serve the people and as such they need to be motivated sufficiently because their lives are on the line and promised to convey their concern to the Government of Liberia.
Saturday, 6th September 2014
Monrovia, Liberia - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai today launched the Weekly Prayer Service at the Providence Baptist Church Shrine here which will run for the next three months under the theme ‘A call to unceasing prayers” in the wake of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia and the Sub region.
The Weekly Prayer Service will focus on prayer against Ebola in the sub region and for peace and stability.
Speaking at the official launch today, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai told the congregation that historically Liberians have sought the intervention of the Almighty when faced with great difficulty, saying when all else is failing, the only place to turn to is the Almighty God who is forever listening to our prayers.
Citing Biblical reliance for the occasion, Vice President Joseph Boakai pointed out the battle against Ebola is the Lord’s, noting that a call to unceasing prayers is not a call to constant prayers, but to persistent and consistent prayers and that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much citing the New Testament Book of James.
The Most Rev. Jonathan B.B. Hart, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa and President of the Liberia Council of Churches delivered the welcome statement.
The Providence Baptist Shrine has been used as a place of Prayer when the Nation was faced with serious national problems.
Wednesday 6th August 2014
Vice President Boakai, George Soros and Heather Higginbottom Discuss Transparency and Accountability of Africa’s Natural Resources at Open Society Foundations Luncheon
Washington D.C. - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr., has told the world that, for the last eight years, Liberia has been working to piece together broken institutions, create new ones where none existed, and advance governance and the rule of law. He also said that governments can serve better when stronger institutions are created.
The Liberian Vice President made the statement when he joined the Chairman of the Open Society Foundations, billionaire George Soros, and the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Heather Higginbottom at a luncheon on Monday, August 4, the theme of which was “Resources for the Future: Partnering with Civil Society for Transparency and Accountability in Africa”. Introducing the program was Akwe Amosu, former Focus on Africa presenter, and now the Regional Director for Africa for the Open Society Foundations.
Co-sponsoring the event were: Global Integrity, ONE, OXFAM, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, Global Financial Integrity, Publish What You Pay, Human Rights Watch, International Budget Partnership, and Global Witness.
In his remarks, Vice President Boakai told the Washington gathering that Liberia has a strong position on good governance, accountability, transparency, and human rights. “We intend to keep our supportive position on these despite the many challenges as a post-conflict nation”, he pointed out.
He thanked the Open Society Foundations and its partners for the invitation, expressed regret for the absence of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, due to an unprecedented spread of Ebola in the country, and he thanked all present for being good friends of Liberia.
The Vice President indicated that the Open Society Foundations and its partners were informed about Liberia’s recent history, including the civil war, and aware of the many efforts towards rebuilding and reconciliation amidst disunity and challenges. He said that in eight years, Liberia has endeavored to keep the peace, reconcile people, grow the economy, and work towards sustainable and inclusive development.
As dictated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in Accra in 2003, the Vice President said that the country has “worked to consolidate peace and security, revitalize the economy, rebuild governance and rule of law, rebuild infrastructures and provide basis social services”. The last eight years had focused on establishing institutions aimed at good governance, transparency, integrity, accountability -- all decimated by the civil war. “We are rebuilding, providing and expanding basic services in the areas of health, education, gender, youth empowerment and others”, he stressed.
On promoting transparency and accountability, the Vice President said that Liberia joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process, a global standard promoting transparency in the management of resources, in 2007 and remains committed to breaking away from the corruption history of the past.
He explained that upon assuming the leadership of the country, the current government issued Executive Order #1, which saw the cancellation of 87 forestry concessions and a review of all existing concession agreements aimed at protecting the country’s resources. He said that Liberia had joined the Voluntary Partnership Agreement, which ensures that timber leaving Liberia comes from legal sources, thereby protecting the resources and using them for the benefit of the people. The country had also joined the Tropical Forest Alliance-2020, a public-private partnership aimed at taking voluntary actions to reduce deforestation.
Other achievements by Liberia aimed at transparency and accountability in its natural resources sector included: Liberia continues to lead the EITI process and has now submitted its 5th EITI Report; it was one of the first countries to commit its forestry sector to the EITI reporting;it wasthe first country to have a dedicated EITI legislation, and to move EITI reporting beyond the oil and gas industries to include agriculture and forestry.
Liberia, the Vice President informed the gathering, embarked upon the first major effort aimed at promoting contract transparency in EITI history by conducting a Post Award Process Audit, in 2013, of 68 material concession agreements awarded by the government in the oil, mining, agriculture, and forestry sectors between July 2009 and December 2011. While the audit revealed certain lapses in the processes leading to the award of some contracts, including lack of stakeholder participation, procurement missteps, and conflicting legislations, the Vice President believed that the courage to undertake the audit demonstrated Liberians’ determination to assess themselves and transform their destiny. Such findings challenge us to exercise greater care in managing our resources for more transparent resource governance, he declared.
The Vice President concluded by urging the international community to maintain interest in the well-being and advancement of Liberia, and that Liberia would continue count on their counsel and support.
Speaking earlier, OSF Chairman George Soros spoke of the voice of civil society, which has had a very important role regarding some of the most important developments in Africa. In that connection, he mentioned the roles played by such organizations as Publish What You Pay, by Global Witness, and by the EITI, all of which received support from the Soros Foundation.
Mr. Soros informed the gathering that the new name for EITI is the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI); that with the support of a number of governments, the Institute will be stronger and will play a more important role in the future. He also spoke of agriculture as a key area in dealing with natural resources and employment, noting that as mining becomes highly automated, it employs fewer people. He was therefore pleased that the organization ONE has made agriculture a main area of focus from now on.
On politics, Mr. Soros said that free and fair elections are important for the future of Africa. He also touched on such topics as communal violence; the need for a discussion on the formation of a counter-terrorism partnership; and the need for funding to socio-economic development.
He concluded by expressing his regrets that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf could not be present because of the Ebola crisis in her country, as it would have been his pleasure to introduce her because she’s a model in working for better governance in Liberia.
In her remarks, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Heather Higginbottom, pointed out that her government was providing support to Liberia in dealing with Ebola.
She stressed the importance of the participation of civil society in solving today’s problems; mentioned the Open Governance Partnership that was established by President Barack Obama, which a number of African countries have joined. Corruption hampers development, she said, and more African countries are aware of that. Transparency in the management of extractive resources was important to Africa’s growth, she stated.
Panelists in the ensuing discussion on transparency and accountability in Africa’s natural resources were: George Soros, OSF Chairman; Mo Ibrahim, Co-founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Ali Idrissa, National Coordinator of Publish What You Pay/ Niger; and Mojanku Gumbi, Trustee of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation. Simon Taylor, Co-Founder and Director of Global Witness, made closing remarks. The Provocateur of the Panel discussion was Daniel Kaufmann, President of the Natural Resource Governance Institute.
Wednesday 6th August 2014
President Obama Commits to Help Solve the Ebola Spread in Liberia and West Africa; Chats with Vice President Boakai at White House Dinner
Washington D.C. - The President of the United States of America Barrack Obama has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to stand by Liberia and the West African region in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease.
Speaking with Vice President Joseph Boakai Tuesday night at a White House dinner with African leaders attending the US - Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, President Obama promised that the US will provide technical, material and financial support to help eradicate Ebola from Liberia and the sub-region.
According to a dispatch from Washington DC, the U.S. President also re-emphasized the commitment of his government to support the fight against Ebola epidemic now plaguing the sub-region when he addressed the formal opening of the US - Africa Leaders Summit on Wednesday at the State Department, the venue of the Summit.
“I deeply regret the absence of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone due to the outbreak of Ebola in their countries. America will do everything in its power to ensure that the virus is contained in Liberia and West Africa,” President Obama assured.
He also thanked leaders of the African continent for attending the summit and pledged to aid the continent’s growth and development, committing U.S. assistance.
Responding at the White House dinner on Tuesday, Vice President Boakai thanked the Government and people of the United States for its support to Liberia and apprised Mr. Obama of the steps the Liberian Government has taken to curb the spread of the Ebola virus in the country. He said the Ebola outbreak is overwhelming the limited health systems and resources of the country, but emphasized that the Liberian people are determined to restrain and curtail the spread of the disease.
Vice President Boakai is in the US leading the Liberian Government’s delegation at President Obama's US - Africa Leaders Summit.
Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that it will be deploying a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to West Africa to coordinate the U.S. Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak, which has so far sickened more than 1,600 people, including nearly 900 who have died from the disease.
According to information circulated to delegates attending the US – Africa Leaders Summit, USAID announced an additional US$5 million in assistance to help ramp up the international community’s Ebola response efforts.
Specifically, this funding will go towards the expansion of Ebola outbreak programs the Agency is already supporting in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. These programs will help trace people who may be infected with the disease, as well as provide health clinics and households with hygiene kits, soap, bleach, gloves, masks, and other supplies to help prevent the spread of disease.
Vice President Boakai and delegation will this evening meet Liberians in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. areas at a Town Hall Meeting scheduled at 5:30 pm eastern time at the Trinity Episcopal Church on Piney Branch Road in Washington.
He is also expected to speak to Liberia across the United States when he appears as a Special Guest on a popular online radio program hosted by the Liberia Destiny Debaters based in the US.
Wednesday 6th August 2014
Vice President Boakai Holds Town Hall Dialogue in the Washington D.C Area, Takes Ebola Fight to Compatriots; American University Memorializes Fallen Dr. Samuel Brisbane
Washington D.C., USA - Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai has engaged compatriots in the Washington D.C. area of the United States of America in a three-hour long Town Hall dialogue on the prevailing Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
According to a Dispatch, Vice President Boakai, speaking during a Town Hall dialogue held at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington D.C., United States of America on Wednesday, August 6, extended greetings from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and their compatriots in Liberia and indicated that it was the responsibility of Government officials visiting countries around the world to meet with and update citizens abroad about the situation back home.
He reminded the gathering that his Town Hall meeting was not meant for the usual political undertone; rather the gathering was meant to inform Liberians about the Ebola virus disease that was gradually becoming lethal in the country as well as update them about interventions and actions that Government and its partners are taking to combat the spread of the disease.
The Liberia Broadcasting System’s Director General, Darryl Ambrose Nmah, provided information about the affected counties and updated them on the number of persons that have succumbed to the disease so far as well as those confirmed with the virus, giving Liberians in the U.S. a clearer picture of the Ebola crisis on the country and its people.
The Liberian Vice President spoke about all of the emergency measures taken so far by Government to combat the spread of the virus to include: the establishment of a National Task Force on Ebola, the launch of a National Action Plan and an initial contribution of US$5 million to immediately begin the implementation of the plan fight the disease.
He also named the temporary suspension of work for all non-essential staff at government ministries and agencies for 30 days, restriction on public gatherings, closure of market places at major border points, the closure all border points excluding the Roberts International and James Spriggs Payne Airports, the Bo Waterside, Ganta and the Foya Crossing Points, as well as measures put place at designated entry and exit border points to safeguard the public and protect the further spread of the virus.
Other measures Vice President highlighted were the disinfection of public places, temporary closure of all schools, restriction of travels for government officials with limited exceptions, increased outreach, awareness and sensitization, decentralization of the national effort to combat the virus, standing orders to the security forces to help enforce the orders, new travel measures, and most recently, the declaration of a State of Emergency.
He praised the efforts of non-governmental organizations, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and Samaritan Purse; World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, as well as other international and local partners that have stood by the Liberian Government and people in combating the spread of the disease.
Most especially, the Vice President paid tribute to all health care workers - doctors, nurses, and laboratory technicians, paramedics, volunteers - who have either died or fallen ill due to the Ebola virus. He also acknowledged the excellent work of all foreign health workers including the two Ebola infected Americans now back in the U.S., the chief administrator of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, late Cameroonian Bro./Dr. Patrick Nshamdze; the late Ugandan Dr. Sam Mutooro Muhumuza, Dr. Samuel Brisbane, and all others aiding the fight.
The Liberian Vice President urged his fellow compatriots in the Diaspora to develop a spirit of cooperation with the Government and people of Liberia and thanked them for the level to cooperation thus far on the Ebola fight.
Vice President Boakai reiterated that all of the natural and man-made disasters around the world has never defined the countries affected and thus called on Liberians both at home and abroad not to allow the Ebola conflict to define Liberia. “This too shall come to pass and Liberia will surely be normal and back on its feet. Let us hold together and don’t allow the Ebola outbreak to define us and our country,” he urged.
Dr. Boakai briefed the audience about the situation concerning the late Finance Ministry consultant Patrick Sawyer and informed them that on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Meeting, he met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, where he expressed regrets for the unfortunate situation with Mr. Sawyer which landed the virus in Nigeria.
Earlier, Liberia’s Ambassador accredited near Washington DC, H.E. Jeremiah Sulonteh, briefed the Vice President and Liberians attending the Town Hall dialogue about initiatives undertaken by the Embassy to gather support for the country’s fight against the deadly Ebola virus. He presented an initial amount of US$15,000 to the Liberian Vice President on behalf of Liberians in the United States. He welcomed Liberians to the Town Hall meeting and presented the Vice President and delegation who were well received by the audience in the jam packed hall.
A long period of questions and answers followed the Vice President’s presentation with Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan, Presidential Legal Adviser Cllr. Seward Cooper, Commerce Minister Axel Addy, Gender and Development Minister Julia Duncan Cassell and National Investment Commission’s chairman Michael Wortorson being permitted by the Vice President to provide inputs on some of the questions with bearing on their sector.
All of the intervening officials called on Liberians abroad to stop being negative and destructive about their country and encouraged them to help rebuild the country. “No investor goes to a country when is it constantly demonized on the social network, local and international media. We must leave the country alone if we can’t help it,” the officials urged.
Meanwhile, the Indiana University has memorialized fallen Liberian Doctor Samuel Brisbane for his courageous and dedicated service to his fellow countrymen. The Department of International Affairs of the University on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 named a building on one of its campuses in his honor.
The representative of the University at the Town Hall meeting also announced the design of long-term projects to enhance medical infrastructures in Liberia and requested a point of contact for the initiative.
Meanwhile, the Vice President will be engaged with a larger segment of Liberians in the U.S. when he is hosted by an online Liberian Media Network called the Liberia Destiny Debaters. He will later address a function of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda with reference to the Common African Position. The Vice President’s intervention will focus on Peace and Security.
Tuesday, 5th August 2014
On Margins of U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, Vice President Boakai Speaks of Liberia’s Experience on Youth Empowerment at Mercy Corps Forum
Washington, D.C. - On the margins of the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit taking place in Washington, D.C., the Head of the Liberian Delegation, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr., on Monday addressed a forum organized by the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps on the theme of “Empowering Africa’s Youth – Lessons from Liberia”.
The Vice President later addressed a luncheon gathering on transparency in the management of Liberia’s natural resources, organized by the Open Society Foundations chaired by Billionaire George Soros.
According to a dispatch from Washington, at the Mercy Corps event, Vice President Boakai shared Liberia’s experience in empowering its youth. The other panelists were: Alexander B. Cummings, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Coca-Cola Company; Earl Gast, USAID’s Assistant Administrator for Africa; and Allison Huggins, Country Director of Mercy Corps-Liberia. Rick Little, a member of the Board of Directors of Mercy Corps, welcomed the panelists. The program’s moderator was Andrea Koppel, Vice President for Global Engagement and Policy at Mercy Corps and a veteran CNN journalist, who sought the perspectives of the panelists on how to empower Africa’s youth.
In his presentation, the Liberian Vice President reflected on the country’s decade-long civil war and its impact on the country and its people, particularly the youth, who he said became a part of the “lost generation” due to the conflict. High unemployment, high incidence of illiteracy, and lack of basic skills are among the factors that make young people vulnerable and manipulated, Vice President Boakai said.
He said the government of Liberia is developing and implementing many youth development initiatives and interventions to address the challenges young people face, and that an accelerated learning program is at the core of interventions targeted at the many former combatants, adding the program gives motivation, self-esteem, and hope to such young people.
The Vice President said that the government of Liberia has, over the past years of leadership, developed key programmatic interventions to include investment in technical and vocational education, improved teacher training programs, the youth employment skills program, and the economic empowerment of adolescent girls and young women program, among others.
Vice President Boakai assured international friends that the recent violence at the operational facilities of ArcelorMittal was not an indictment of Liberia as a risky nation for investment, and he invited American investors to Liberia as the country pushes forward with its development agenda.
“We are making interventions that will seek to fast-track the country’s recovery process and ensure the development of the economy, investing in infrastructures, provision of needed skills to young people, and sustaining a peaceful environment for national growth and development,” Vice President Boakai stressed. He concluded by calling on Mercy Corps, the organizer of the forum, to prioritize a plan of action that elevates young people to higher heights.
Panelist Alexander Cummings of Coca-Cola stressed that youth empowerment and employment is critical to its operations. He spoke of his company’s involvement with this important constituent, pointing out that it was actively working with the youth demographic not only in Liberia but globally.
Earl Gast of USAID, who earlier expressed empathy with the Liberian people over the horror of the recent Ebola outbreak, indicated that the rebuilding of the educational system in Africa must include the training of teachers, to ensure greater opportunities for empowering young people in Africa. For her part, Allison Huggins of Mercy Corps-Liberia confirmed that youths have been placed at the center of Liberia’s development agenda, and advised that policy makers involve young people in the development of programs and processes that concern them.