Liberia Lags Behind In Technology & Impact – Says Pres. Weah; Addresses TICAD7 Confab in Tokyo, Japan
President George Manneh Weah has admitted at an African development forum that Liberia is currently behind on the application of technology to impact its national development goals, a reality that he said compels his government to be pursuing a strategy which will fast-track the integration of technology in all facets of the Liberian life.
The President made the statement at the Tokyo International Conference for Africa Development (TICAD7) in Yokohama, Japan on Wednesday 28 August, 2019, on the Theme: “Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology and Innovation”.
Excited about the theme of TICAD7, President Weah said his government is fully aware that technological innovation and its proper application can go a long way in solving many of the country’s socio-economic problems, and can even contribute to mitigating some of the political challenges. “We have therefore decided to accelerate our efforts in this area in order to achieve our development goals in the shortest possible time,” the Liberian leader said.
Considering Africa’s current place in the global community, and taking into account the evolving realities on the African continent, Liberia could not be more excited about the theme of TICAD7, “Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology and Innovation,” President Weah said. .
Additionally, he accentuated that energy capacity in Liberia is very low, and tends to impede all efforts to stimulate the Liberian economy. “Currently, we do not have the level of power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure to attract industries that can significantly impact the unemployment rate. To compound this problem, our road networks are poor and inadequate,” he further intimated.
According to him, it is on account of these realities that the government has come to this forum, pointing out that the theme of the event is a powerful proposition that renews his government’s hope for a brighter future for our people.
“My Government has determined that there are a number of categories of physical assets that are critical and essential to the success of our Pro-Poor Agenda – ranging from roads, bridges and rail; to telecommunication and high speed broadband internet connectivity; electricity for domestic and commercial consumption; machinery for mechanized food production; and institutions for vocational training and human skill development,” the Liberian leader said.
The President asserted, “It is very clear to me, that the combined functionality of these assets will determine the quality of life for every citizen and every resident of our country – from physical safety; to movement by road, sea and air; to production and supply of food; to healthcare, education, human skills development, job creation; and, ultimately, to the attainment of prosperity and happiness.”
President Weah indicated that in order to realize these goals, Liberians have developed the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) as our flagship development strategy, saying that the ultimate objectives of the PAPD are two-fold.
Explaining the two folds, President Weah firstly said the PADP is to build more capable and trusted state institutions that will lead to a stable, resilient, and inclusive nation embracing its heritage and its unique African identity and secondly to provide greater income security to an additional one million Liberians, and reduce absolute poverty by 23 percent across five out of six regions–through sustained and inclusive economic growth which is driven by scaled-up investments in agriculture, infrastructure, human resource development, and social protection.
The second objective of the PADP, the President explained, is to provide greater income security to an additional one million Liberians, and reduce absolute poverty by 23 percent across five out of six regions–through sustained and inclusive economic growth which is driven by scaled-up investments in agriculture, in infrastructure, in human resource development, and in social protection.
For the Tokyo International Conference for Africa Development, the Liberian Chief Executive said, “we have circulated the details of a number of priority projects that we believe are crucial for the realization of our development objectives. We invite all of you, as our development partners, to avail yourselves to the sideline meetings and technical discussions that are scheduled over the next few days and beyond, so that we might consult on the details or these programs and projects.”
To the Japanese People and Government, especially Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, the Liberian people extol the generosity of the great country and its people. “By establishing the Tokyo International Conference on the African Development forum, your country has demonstrated its passion and capacity to share its knowledge and wealth, thereby giving all mankind the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of creation,” President Weah said.
“Liberia is most honored to partake in this global forum, which is a manifestation of the excellent relationship existing between African nations and Japan. Liberia appreciates the ongoing development cooperation with Japan, and remains committed to further strengthening bilateral ties, for the benefit of both countries and peoples,” the Liberian President said.
He expressed appreciation for Japan’s contribution to Africa’s development through the TICAD process, and for Japan’s meaningful role in global peacekeeping noted as an important factor in our developmental process.
TICAD-7, Weah said, provides yet another opportunity to compare notes with our fellow African leaders and our global development partners, from Japan and other parts of the world, on the common good of mankind, particularly the fate of the African people.
Earlier, the commended Japan for the country’s engagement in worthwhile initiatives in Liberia. “It would be remiss of us if, on this occasion, we did not reflect on some critical development and capacity-building programs that Japan has implemented, or is currently implementing, in Liberia through grant arrangements,” he said
He named some of these engagements as the grant for the reconstruction and expansion of the Somalia Drive road in Monrovia; now referred to as the “Japan Freeway”; the food aid to Liberia; the grant for the procurement and installation of a 10 megawatt generator to support the expansion of electricity in Monrovia and its environs; and the grant for construction of the Liberia-Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center;
President Weah also mentioned the training opportunities granted to more than two hundred Liberians to pursue specialized studies at various Japanese colleges and universities and the deployment of more than 170 young Japanese volunteers to Liberia under the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer program, to provide technical assistance in the areas of Science, Math, Agriculture, Auto Maintenance and Maternal Health Care saying that the people of Liberia are very grateful for the generosity and support that the country have received from Japan.