By: Rancy S. Teewia
President George Manneh Weah has lauded the relationship existing between Japan and Liberia over the years and reiterated Liberia’s commitment to the development cooperation with Japan under the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) framework as well as through direct bilateral engagement.
President Weah made the statement on Monday, July 26, 2021 at the turning over ceremony of the second phase of the Somalia Drive (Freeway) by the Government of Japan through its foreign mission in Liberia which was also dedicated by President Weah as part of the activities marking the 174th Independence Anniversary of Liberia. He said the dedication of this road today is a manifestation of the strong partnership that exists between both countries
“Today marks a major milestone in the development drive to improve our country’s infrastructure. As we gather here today to dedicate this crucial road linking important commercial corridors of Monrovia, we remain committed and steadfast in achieving the deliverables as set forth in the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
“On behalf of the government and people of Liberia and in my own name, I want to thank the government and people of Japan for this wonderful gift which is being delivered on the occasion marking Liberia’s 174th Independence Day celebration”, President Weah said.
Acknowledging the fact that government is a continuum, the President thanked his predecessor, former President Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her role in initiating the project during her tenure as well as all those involved in the completion of the project.
An elated President Weah told the gathering that the occasion marked a major milestone in the development drive to improve the country’s infrastructure. “As we gather here today to dedicate this crucial road linking important commercial corridors of Monrovia, we remain committed and steadfast in achieving the deliverables as set forth in the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)”
He further praised the government and people of Japan for delivering what he called a wonderful gift on such an important occasion like the 174th independence anniversary of the country..
While stating that the route which has since been renamed the Japan Freeway will bring much needed relief to people of this area who have long struggled with unending traffic congestion, the President cautioned all would-be users and members of the communities along this road to help in its maintenance through proper use. “We all have a responsibility to maintain the gift which has been given to us. So let us demonstrate our continuous appreciation to the Japanese government and its people through the way in which we take care of this Japan Freeway”, he said.
Emphatically he sent out a caution: “Do not build makeshift market stalls on the road! Do not throw garbage in the gutters and drainage! Do not throw trash on the road! My fellow Liberians, let all of us do our part as responsible citizens”, he ended his speech.
Also speaking at the dedication ceremony, the Japanese Ambassador to Liberia, Tsutomu Himeno reaffirmed the commitment of the government and people of Japan towards Liberia’s development in key sectors like Agriculture and health.
He also noted that during the participation of Preside Weah at the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD), there was a meeting held between the two leaders of the countries at which time the status of the Japan Freeway and other important projects were discussed.
He said there are several other projects that are on the way to be done in Liberia, adding that such projects will be constructed because of the friendship between the two countries which according to him is very strong and Japan will remain committed to helping Liberia.
It can be recalled that In 2014 the Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led government and the Government of Japan signed a grant agreement to construct 13.2 Kilometers of road in Liberia, and the then Somalia Drive was selected which was now completed and renamed the Japan Freeway.