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Group Reviews Potential Reforms To Liberian Economy
MONROVIA, January 16 (LINA) – A group comprising Liberian and U.S. officials has reviewed and discussed potential reforms aimed at strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals and diversifying the Liberian economy to build resilience, promote sustainable growth, and deepen the financial system.
The working group was part of the Third Partnership Dialogue between the governments of Liberia and the United States convened at the State Department recently in Washington, D.C.
It discussed: “Overcoming Challenges to Liberia’s Economy,” and was co-chaired by Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Boima Kamara, and U.S. Department of State Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, Patricia Haslach.
Regarding the Liberian economy, a Joint Statement issued at the close of the dialogue states: “The United States and Liberia recognized that the Liberian economy has faced substantial challenges from the dual shocks of Ebola and declining commodity prices.
Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who led the U.S. delegation, and Liberia’s Foreign Minister Marjon V. Kamara, who headed the Liberian delegation, signed the Joint Statement on the Partnership Dialogue, said a dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
According to the Statement, the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue convened four working groups focused on ‘Overcoming Challenges to Liberia’s Economy;’ ‘Expanding Agriculture Production and Trade;’ ‘Enhancing Liberia’s Investment and Infrastructure Climate;’ and ‘Supporting Post-Ebola Recovery and Health Strengthening Efforts.’
The second working group session, “Agriculture and Food Security,” was co-chaired by Liberia’s Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses Zinnah, Liberia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Axel Addy, USAID Liberia Mission Director Anthony Chan, and U.S. Department of State Office of Global Food Security Senior Advisor, Caitlin Welsh.
The Statement also states that “Recognizing the important role the agricultural sector must play in Liberia’s food security and economic development, the United States and Liberia committed to continued collaboration in support of Liberia’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda, through the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity and other programs, with the ultimate goal of improving food security among Liberians.
“Both governments intend to increase efforts to encourage private companies to invest responsibly in Liberia’s agriculture sector and to increase agriculture trade.”
The third working group session on “Post-Ebola Recovery and Health System Strengthening Efforts,” was co-chaired by Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Health Tolbert Nyenswah and U.S. Department of State acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Caryn R. McClelland.
According to the Joint Statement, “Acknowledging the adverse impacts of the Ebola epidemic on the Liberian economy and society, the working group reviewed ongoing initiatives and programs aimed at achieving improvements in the health sector to include ending preventable child and maternal deaths, creating an AIDS-free generation, and strengthening global health security to ensure rapid response and resilience to disease outbreaks…”
The final working group session on “Enhancing Liberia’s Investment and Infrastructure Climate,” was co-chaired by Liberia’s Minister of Public Works Gyude Moore, Liberia’s National Investment Commission Executive Director George G. Wisner, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s acting Vice President for the Department of Compact Operations, Kyeh Kim, and the U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Finance and Development, Lisa Kubiske.
According to the Joint Statement, “The United States and Liberia reviewed a number of successful collaborations in the transportation, water supply, energy, and information and communication technology sectors.”
The Joint Statement further states that “Recognizing the importance of good regulation, fairly consistently administered, in attracting private sector investment, the United States and Liberia also committed to continued collaboration in standing up the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission to regulate the electricity sector.
“The United States and Liberia further recognized the importance of sound regulation in Liberia’s petroleum sector to attract responsible private investment.”
On the margins of the working group session, “Counselor-related issues” became a parallel bilateral discussion, co-chaired by Liberia’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs Cllr. Deweh Gray, U.S. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs David Reimer and Consular Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Edward Ramotowski.
Speaking at the close of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue, Foreign Minister Kamara lauded the U.S. Government for the successful hosting of the third round the Dialogue, and looked forward to “the retooling of U.S. support to meet key objectives identified during the deliberations.”