MONROVIA: When President-elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai (JNB) left the country recently for the United States of America in the wake in his expected certification by the National Elections Commission, speculations became rife that he had gone to seek urgent medical attention, a situation that would have rendered him incapable of even attending his inauguration on January 22. But as The Analyst has gathered, Liberia’s next president will be extra busy this week working the Washington political and financial circuits, where he will hold strategic meetings with top-level US State Department functionaries, international financial institutions, as well as the United Nations, to chart a new direction for his country’s forward march.
According to former Liberia Finance Minister and Gbarpolu County Senator Amara M. Konneh (AMK) who is currently on a working visit to the United States having successfully coordinated the Unity Party Alliance’s November 14 presidential victory, the presence of President-elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai in America is definitely strategic. However, in rapid response to Senator Konneh’s post, former Liberia Auditor General John S. Morlu has expressed reservations about President-elect Boakai being made to court the Bretton Woods route because it has never taken the ordinary Liberians out of poverty.
In one of his recent characteristic social media posts, AMK disclosed that while heading home to Pennsylvania on the Amtrak Train after a productive week in cold Washington, DC working for Liberia, he was elated to report that Liberia’s President-Elect Joseph Boakai has a busy week carved out for him.
“Heading home to Pennsylvania on the Amtrak Train after a productive week in cold Washington, DC working for the country. A busy week ahead – next week- for Liberia’s President-Elect Joseph Boakai in Washington, DC: State & Treasury Departments, the US Mission to the UN, MCC, IMF, World Bank, Corporate Council on Africa, and the US Institute of Peace including congressional & senior policy leaders – all successfully lined up for informal discussions about a new strategic direction in Liberia-US partnership. Follow the official press releases and photos beginning Monday,” the recently certificated Gbarpolu County Senator stated effusively.
John Morlu Reacts
But in sharp reaction to Senator Konneh’s post, former AG Morlu says caution should be paramount as President-elect Boakai contemplates engagement with the familiar international players – the UMF, World Bank, UN, ADB, and the Corporate Council, because the nature of their playbook lacks the vital elements of competitiveness and innovation necessary to break Liberia free from the chains of poverty.
In a boldly written article titled: Liberating Liberia: “A Bold Call for Economic Independence”, Morlu argued that for many Africans, the pursuit of Washington’s political corridors is deemed a political dividend, regardless of whether such endeavors benefit their people, noting that while former President Sirleaf basked in the adoration of the West and Washington, poverty and exposed infrastructure loomed large in Liberia.
“While the workings of these institutions may elude most Americans and Western Europeans, Africans, especially Liberians, are acutely aware. Astonishingly, 90% of Americans and Western Europeans remain oblivious to the IMF, UN, or World Bank, in stark contrast to the heightened awareness among Africans. President-Elect Joe Boakai’s involvement in their events is acknowledged, yet skepticism persists over their ability to drive substantial progress in poverty eradication.
“Prosperous nations like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE shun assistance from the IMF and World Bank, relying on their abundant resources. This raises a poignant question: Why does Liberia, with its rich endowment, consistently turn to these institutions?
“In defiance of prevailing sentiments, Senator-Elect Amara Konneh expresses unabashed enthusiasm about engaging with the IMF and World Bank in Washington—a scenario all too familiar. However, a resolute path is urged for Joe Boakai, one that places paramount emphasis on a Business and Economic Forum designed to attract investments from successful black Americans in manufacturing, agriculture, technology, and Silicon Valley. The focus is clear—foster small-scale businesses and generate employment for all Liberians through free-market enterprise capitalism,” Morlu cautioned.
He said President-elect Boakai already champions the free market system as Liberia’s key to prosperity, with emphasis on private capital and domestic resource mobilization as primary drivers; wherein multilateral institutions and donor agencies are relegated to supplementary funding sources. The initiative, “Liberians for Prosperity,” shouts commitment to market-driven solutions, Molu conjectured.
“Amidst calls for alternative viewpoints on renewing the upcoming IMF program, the narrative vehemently leans toward rejecting renewal. Advocacy intensifies for a shift towards promoting domestic resource mobilization over dependency. Drawing inspiration from historical figures like George Washington, the call is for an audacious path in constructing a new Liberia. The ongoing battle revolves around influencing Joe Boakai’s choice between the donor-driven model and an unyielding commitment to an anti-corruption, private sector, and domestic resource approach.
“Some clamor for another donor conference, but Liberians are exhausted by such events. Since 2004, donor dependency has persisted as the sole policy prescription for Liberia, and it’s time to break free. The emphatic call is to shift focus, urging a laser focus on the private sector.
“Despite expected challenges, progress is undeniable. The spotlight sharpens on crucial matters such as auditing the Weah government, anti-corruption endeavors, asset recovery, and business loan repayments. A unanimous stand emerges among Liberians, with 92% acknowledging the urgency of shaping Liberia’s future.
“Envisioning Joe Boakai on Wall Street, visiting JP Morgan, and engaging with rating agencies like Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, and Silicon Valley becomes more than a vision—it becomes a demand. These pillars of American enterprise are not merely avenues for exploration but integral to forging strategic partnerships for Liberia’s economic growth.
“An unapologetic invitation extends to join the movement advocating for a liberated Liberia, founded on freedom and opportunity, with Joe Boakai as the unyielding catalyst. The message resonates with a personal commitment to justice and fairness, recognizing the relentless battle to shape Liberia’s future.
“While acknowledging institutions like the IMF and World Bank, the call is emphatic—Liberia must forge its own path after 176 years, expanding its economy through unwavering anti-corruption measures and vigorous domestic resource mobilization. The only impediment to Liberia’s potential, preventing it from becoming a Kuwait, is corruption.
“Join the unyielding free-market movement and passionately share the vision for Liberia’s economic independence,” Morlu said.