Presdent George Manneh Weah has been explaining the objecvtives of the Liberian government’s Agenda for Prosperity &Development (PAPD), saying that the major pillars and objectives of the Propooor Agenda for Prosperity &Development (PAPD) are to give power to the people; create jobs and improve the economy; and sustain the peace through good governance and transparency.
“Under the PAPD, we intend to lift at least one million of our citizens, or 20% of our population, from poverty by the year 2023,” the Liberian leadersd said.
The President intimated that the two main strategic drivers under the PAPD are infrastructure development through road connectivity; and agriculture.
“Liberia is a nation which is blessed with a small population (4.6 million people), a significant endowment of natural resources; and one of the highest rainfalls in the world. But if we are to turn these comparative advantages into competitive advantages that will produce sustainable growth and development for our people, we will need to take some pages from the Israeli experience,” President Weah indicated.
He said Israel, over the years since its founding, has improved its infrastructures, increased food production through agriculture, and is now one of the leading hubs for technology, addibng that this is the purpose of his at MASHAV, the Israel Agency for International Development and Cooperation.
“We are informed that MASHAV was established to assist fellow nations to overcome development challenges, by sharing know-how and technologies which provided the basis of Israel’s own development. We are told that it leads Israel’s efforts in empowering individuals, and communities in need, by sharing tools and expertise to achieve sustainable development,” President Weah asserted .
He intimated that Israel’s agricultural sector is renowned for its diversified production, and its intensive and innovating agro-technologies.
“Notable among your agricultural achievements are the research and development of improved seeds, adaptation of new high-yield species and varieties, and development and implementation of post-harvest practices,” he maintained.
According to hin, Liberia seeks Isreal collaboration and support for the purpose of introducing modern technologies and agro-technical methods in our country. Such knowledge and skills transfer would increase the levels and quality of agricultural production, and ensure food security and sustainable development, he added.
The most effective means to a rapid reduction of poverty in Liberia, President Weah said, is to develop the country’s potential in the field of agricultural.
“Although MASHAV is already involved in various aspects of agriculture development in Liberia, I wish today to propose the formal establishment of a Liberia-Israel Center for Agricultural Training in Liberia, in collaboration with the MASHAV Training Center,” he said.
The proposed project, he noted, would aim to establish extension and training centers in agriculture and allied fields in Liberia that will promote farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability, thereby contributing to the betterment of living standards of our citizens and their communities.
“Additionally, we see agriculture in all its many variations as a ready and lasting solution to the dangerously high rate of youth unemployment. Through their participation of our young citizens in the development of this sector, they will acquire marketable skill sets and entrepreneurial training that would enable them to become productive citizens, either gainfully employed, or self-employed,” President Weah asserted.
He said his government would also like to benefit from agro-financing to the private sector, in major priority commodities such as rice, cocoa, coffee, and oil palm, among others. “Your leadership in agro-technology could also assist us in the rapid transformation of the sector through the use of smart technologies,” Dr. Weah pleaded.
He then historicized his visit when he divuldged the outcome of his visit last year November in France to attend the Paris Peace Forum, during which time he had the privilege and good fortune to exchange greetings with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
At that time, President Wweah indicated that he expressed his desire to visit Israel to explore avenues through which we could rekindle and strengthen the bonds of friendship that already exist between Israel and Liberia.
The Prime Minister was warmly receptive to this suggestion, and promised to invite him to Israel in the not-too-distant future. “Being a man of his word, he has kept his promise, and less than three months later, I am standing before you as his guest,” he exclaimed.
On behalf of the Government and People of Liberia, and in his own name, President Weah thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the Government and People of the State of Israel, for their kind invitation, which afforded him the opportunity to share with them the challenges face as the newest Government of the oldest African nation, as well as outline those areas of mutual cooperation that could positively address some of these challenges.