GoL Visiting Delegation to US Ramps Support for Liberia’s Recovery Drive

Having gone through a devastating civil war that decimated nearly all infrastructures prior to the period when Liberia came second only to Japan in terms of global economic development growth in the 1970s, the tiny west African nation which once served as a safe haven for the leaders of other African nations seeking liberation from colonialism, has itself been struggling to address basic socioeconomic deliverables inherited from the postwar government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. With the United States Government being a major contributor to the pre-and post-war Liberian economic revival, the Weah government during the week dispatched a team of economic and influential lobbying personnel to convince the US Government that there is a dire need to continue its traditional development assistance to Liberia, especially with regards to the coveted Compact Program under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

According to a government of Liberia dispatch from the US, influential U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham has committed to rallying his congressional colleagues of the Republican Party to sign a “Letter of Support” for Liberia’s second bid of the coveted Compact Program under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

The MCC Development Assistance is a U.S. government foreign aid program that provides beneficiary countries time-bound grants which are targeted at ensuring economic growth, reducing poverty and strengthening governmental institutions. The investments of the MCC do not only support a country’s stability and prosperity, but also enhance American Interests. Liberia has already benefited from the MCC Assistance and Investments that led to more than 200 million dollars being spent on the rebuilding of the war-ravaged electricity grid of the country.

According to a dispatch from the U.S., the respected Senator from South Carolina, while meeting with a high-level Liberian Government delegation which is currently visiting Washington DC, committed to work with his colleagues to get Liberia a second shot at benefiting from the MCC Strategic Assistance Program.

“I‘ll do a letter in support of Liberia’s Bid and have my Republican Colleagues sign up to it in favor of your country “ remarked the Congressman serving his fourth term as Senator.

Senator Graham is currently a ranking member of the Budget Committee and also serves the U.S. Congress Committee on Appropriations and Judiciary. Senator Graham is regarded by many as a person whose voice is weighty in determining the direction of the U.S. Government’s International development assistance.

Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D Tweeh Jr. , as part of the Liberian Government’s delegation, had earlier made the country’s case to Senator Graham, seeking his support, while also citing the close historical ties that exist between both nations and Liberia’s work with the U.S. at bilateral and multilateral institutions to garner technical and financial support for Liberia’s Economic recovery.

“We ran a very successful MCC Program inherited from the previous administration and are seeking your support to get us back on the MCC Compact for a second program,” the Minister said.

The Weah Administration hopes to use the MCC grant, which could be around 500-million dollars if finally approved, to fund its ambitious road and infrastructure development drive under the national development roadmap – the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.

For his part, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel F. Mcgill, who heads the delegation, apprised Congressman Graham of the delegation’s overall mission to Washington, noting that they are exploring greater opportunities with the Biden Administration, including U.S. Lawmakers, and also Corporate Policy Makers that could positively enhance Liberia’s visibility in the U.S. political, corporate and social arenas.

“We are messengers of President Weah whose government represents the poor people of Liberia and believe we must bring our message and agenda to the United States for attention and assistance for our country that was founded by freed slaves from here,” he said.

Continuing, Minister McGill informed the Senator that “Next Year, we [Liberia] celebrate 200 years since the first batch of the freed slaves from the U.S. settled in Liberia leading to the founding of the Republic. There has to be a massive U.S. involvement in celebrating this bicentennial”.

The Minister then formally extended an invitation, which Senator Graham immediately accepted and committed to be in Monrovia when the bicentennial is launched during the first quarter of 2022.

“I want to come when it is winter here [US] and dry out there. It might be around February or March” the Congressman said.

The U.S. Senator has also promised to be a voice among his congressional colleagues to promote the bicentennial.

Meanwhile, the Liberian delegation is expected to meet senior Biden Administration officials and Democratic and Republican Congressmen in the coming days to garner bipartisan support for Liberia development effort and Bicentennial commemoration.

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