The rapidity of President George Manneh Weah’s foreign trips, particularly since the beginning of his second year in office, has drawn ire and criticism from opposition elements and other curious Liberians who contend that the frequency of the travels is not beneficial to the country. According to them, the money used for foreign travels by the President could be used for purposes that benefit the people and the country’s ailing economy. But it seems the concerns and criticisms will soon take the back door because the President’s frequent trips are seemingly having returns. One glaring indicator is the arrival of nearly two-dozen top business executives and government officials from the United Arab Emirates just less than two weeks since the President visited that country. As The Analyst reports, the UAE visitors interest in a range of sectors and other important needs President Weah will point to for their intervention.
A high-power delegation of major investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is in the country to explore various investment opportunities in support of President George Manneh Weah’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
At least 22 top executives from UAE’s public and private sectors arrived Saturday, April 6, 2019 and began exchanging notes with their Liberian counterparts toward identifying critical areas of support to the Government and people of Liberia.
Sectors of interest to the visitors include political and capacity building, agriculture, health and small- and-medium enterprises (SMEs). Others sectors include connectivity and infrastructure, education and energy.
During a reception meeting at the Jamaica Resort facility of President Weah in Paynesville City, the visiting investors and their Liberian counterparts broke into small sectorial group meetings for acquaintance and briefing.
Technical staff and officials from the National Investment Commission, Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Health, Education and Liberia Electricity Corporation amongst others were available for sector-specific presentations.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel Farlo McGill and Foreign Affairs Minister Milton Gbazohngar Finley, thanked the visitors for coming to Liberia. They assured the UAE investors of Government’s cooperation during their stay and in their subsequent investment endeavors to Liberia.
The visitors, under the guidance of their hosts, made field trips Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Montserrado and nearby counties to access investment prospects and acquaint themselves with challenges of sectors under discussion.
President George Manneh Weah led a team of Liberian government officials on a weeklong state visit in the UAE and secured commitment of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who is the son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ‘Father of the Nation’ and the first President of the UAE.
The UAE authority had promised President Weah during the visit their unflinching support to his development agenda by mobilizing the appropriate public and private sector actors to explore varying investment opportunities in Liberia.
Barely two weeks after President Weah and delegation returned, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince manifested the urgency and seriousness of his promise by dispatching 22 top business executives and members of his government to come to Liberia and find areas for possible investments.
The delegation, which is headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said during the reception meeting they were making the 2-day visit upon the mandate of Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan pursuant to his promise to help President Weah achieve his development vision for Liberia.
The Assistant Minister for International Affairs Sultant Al Shamsi said his team is diverse its purpose and firm to deliver on their mandate of identifying viable investment opportunities that will create job, fight poverty and build capacity in Liberia.
He said individual groups of the delegation were interested in port development and expansion, agricultural production with emphasis on food security, road connectivity and support to education and health.
His Excellency Al Shamsi said his team’s visit to Liberia would allow his government and UAE private sector spot firsthand critical areas of development support that President Weah and his government desire urgent intervention in.