That former Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is a global citizen and international civil servant is a raw fact that both her foes and pals unanimously acknowledge. Even while she is no longer sitting in the grandeur of power, Madam Sirleaf continues to enjoy favorite treatment as a gem of a role model in the comity of nations. This makes her a restless inspirational speaker and principal guest at almost all esteemed international forums in recent months, the latest being the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag Conference that took place 22 June 2019 in the German city of Dortmund. During her statement, the former Liberian leader lavishly paid tribute to Germany’s Chancellor Angel Merkel, with whom the former Liberian president shared the rostrum, over that country’s role in Liberia’s democratic and economic recovery. The Analyst reports.
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was in Dortmund, Germany, as principal invitee of the government and religious community of that country hosting the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag Conference .
The German Protestant Kerchentag is the largest Christian gathering in Europe and its leadership invited the former Liberian leader to serve as the keynote speaker of its 2019 conference.
Esteemed personalities, including the leader of Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel, delivered speeches at the conference.
In her statement, Madam Sirleaf recalled the enormous contribution Germany has made in Liberia’s democratic, peace and economic consolidation, particularly during her regime (2006 to 2018) with Chancellor Merkel’s personal involvement.
“I first met chancellor Merkel in July of 2007 when she came to Liberia on an official visit, just months into my presidency, becoming the first German chancellor to visit the country,” the former Liberian leader said amid cheers in the audience. “What followed was a long and rewarding friendship, for our two nations and for me personally.
Madam Sirleaf said she and Chancellor Mercel participated in the long struggle for equality on continents dominated by governments run by men.
“And we have promoted the efforts to advance the struggle of women around the world for economic rights, equality, and for seat at the table of governance,” she said, recalling that in July 2007, when chancellor Merkel visited Liberia, “she saw the country that my administration inherited, a nation devastated by civil and regional conflict, infrastructure in disrepair, an economy in shambles, and a generation of Liberians without access to proper schooling, social services, and the most basic of healthcare.”
She while the tasks ahead seemed insurmountable, Liberians as a resilient people faced major challenges during her regime, particularly the problem with external debt at staggering $4.7billion, nearly 30 times what Liberia and post-conflict recovery.
“I credit chancellor Merkel’s leadership with helping to mobilize the international support for Liberia’s debt relief, building a consensus amongst the G8 nations,” former President Sirleaf said, adding: “Over the next three years, Liberia saw a debt relief of nearly 90 percent. This allows Liberia to spend money on schools, hospitals, and infrastructure-areas required for long-term development and growth.”
She noted that the people of Liberia owe a great debt to chancellor Merkel, to the German government and to the German people.
“Without this multilateral cooperation, working in concert with Liberians, my nation would not be where it is today,” she said further.
Speaking on the topic, “Multilateral Cooperation in Today’s World”, former President Sirleaf said with contributions of forces and support from the world over, Liberia has a new professional army, and UNMIL finished its mandate in March 2018, following the democratic transition of power from one leader to another.
More importantly, she said, with this support, in August of 2019, the resilient people of Liberia will celebrate 16years of uninterrupted peace – this after 14consecutive years of conflict.
“While I credit first and fore most the average Liberians, the mothers, the fathers, the youths in the success of rebuilding our nation, I recognize the indispensable contributions of the internal community,” Madam Sirleaf stressed,
She extolled the international community for assisting with financial, technical, and monetary contributions, lent their expertise, and supported Liberia.
She recalled that, unfortunately, Liberia’s progress was slowed by Ebola but it was another instance in which multilateral cooperation proved not only successful, but absolutely vital.
She told her largely German audience that an unprecedented global mobilization of resources to the sub region was organized under the United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Mission (UNMEER), with the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany amongst the largest donors, along with a host of African national who deployed their doctors and healthcare workers to the emergency zones.
“Although some 4000 of our remembered citizens were lost, the outbreak was contained, and Liberia was declared Ebola – free in January 2016,” she said, indicating that it was Liberians and local healthcare workers who accomplished the most work and put themselves at greatest risk.
“But without cooperation from the international community, the disease would have undoubtedly taken more lives. It might have become a global threat,” she said.
He added: “On this note, I turn back to the example the German Chancellor set in 2017, at the margins of the G20, in launching the “compact with Africa (CWA),” to increase the attractiveness of private investment through substantial improvements of the macro, business, and financing frameworks.
“It brought together reform-minded African countries, international organizations, and bilateral partners from G20 and beyond to coordinate country-specific reform agendas, support respective policy measures, and advertise investment opportunities to private investors.”
According to her, the initiative is demand-driven and open to all African countries and the result of this initiative is an awakening and empowered Africa to which the world, listen, following the example of German!
She thanked chancellor Merkel, who “has been on the right side of history that will record her one of the greatest leaders of the 21st century, a champion of multilateral cooperation and one willing to take a stand on important issues even when it could jeopardize your political career.”
Referring to the German leader, the former Liberian president said: “You stand tall in demonstrating the effectiveness of woman leadership, an inspiration to many including myself.
“Dear Chancellor we only ask that as you have come this far you cannot quit, but must continue to serve as the motivating force for women leadership worldwide.”