Kuwait Identifies with Liberia in Ebola Fight

first_imgLiberia’s strong and nurtured diplomatic tie with many countries around the world is yielding fruits, especially in the Ebola crisis. One of the latest countries to come in with aid to combat the Ebola virus is the Middle Eastern Islamic state of Kuwait, from where a consignment of medical equipment and accessories has arrived help fight the Ebola virus.According to a dispatch from the Liberian Embassy near Kuwait City, the consignment of medical equipment and supplies is valued at more than US$45,000.The dispatch said 470 boxes of medical items include Non-Woven Surgical face mask-ear loops, disposable N 95 face masks, non woven surgical face mask-ties, medical gloves, alcohol swab pads among others. The items are expected to help reinforce government’s delivery of treatment and prevention services in health centers around the country.Liberia’s Ambassador to the State of Kuwait, H.E. Konah Blackett, negotiated and procured the items from Dr. Sanad Rasheed Al-Fadala, chairman and CEO of Taiba Hospital &IMS last month and conferred with Dr. Nabel Abdul Rahem,a Kuwaiti engineer consultant, who handled the shipment.The Liberian Embassy expressed gratitude to Dr. Sanad Rashed Al-Fadala and Dr. Nabeel Abdul Raheem for their humanitarian gesture to Liberia during the Ebola crisis.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Kofi Woods to Deliver Armed Forces Day Address

first_imgHuman rights activist and former Minister of Public Works and Labor, Attorney Samuel Kofi Woods, will tomorrow deliver the 2015 Armed Forces Day keynote address at the Barclay Training Center (BTC), where the official celebration commemorating the day will be held. Up to press time last night it was not clear as to what topic the former Minister, now a critic of the Johnson Sirleaf administration, would  address, but the Ministry of National Defense (MOD) says Wednesday’s celebration of the 58th Armed Forces Day will be hosted under the theme, ““Enhancing the Capability of the Armed Forces of Liberia to Conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations.”Woods was born in Monrovia on May 1, 1964. He was one of 20 children and has worked tirelessly in the field of human rights, exposing child labor practices and injustices throughout Liberia.Mr. Woods, who began his activism as a student, was first arrested in 1981, during the early days of the Samuel K. Doe regime. During the Liberian civil war in 1989 Woods escaped to Ghana, but returned to Liberia in 1991 and founded a human rights organization, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC). He operated a radio program aimed at exposing improper arrests, unlawful executions and informing citizens of their civil rights. In 1994 Woods created the Forefront Organization in order to shed light on human rights abuses during the second Liberian civil war.In 2006, Woods became the Minister of Labor under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, only to be later appointed Minister of Public Works in 2009 following a cabinet shake-up.As part of this year’s celebration, the soldiers on Friday, February 6, observed the “Jummat Service” at the Gurley Street Mosque in Monrovia. This part of the program formed the religious activity of the Armed Forces Day. On Saturday, February 7, they carried out a clean-up campaign exercise at five different communities in the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. The clean-up campaign was followed by a “Thanksgiving Service” on Sunday at Tubman Memorial United Methodist Church on Duport Road, Paynseville. After the Thanksgiving Service, the MOD authorities, yesterday hosted a one-day symposium at the Monrovia City Hall, under the theme, “Military Support to Civil Authorities: The Way Forward.” The entire Armed Forces Day activities will be climaxed on Wednesday, February 11, with a military parade commencing from the Barclay Training Center (BTC) through the principal streets of Monrovia by way of Lynch Street. Wednesday’s anniversary is expected to bring together members of the diplomatic corps and the general public, as well as an array of government officials from the three branches and members of the business community, among others.Presidential ProclamationPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued a proclamation declaring Armed Forces Day 2015 to be observed throughout the Republic as a National Holiday.Yesterday’s Proclamation is in consonance with an Act of the National Legislature of Liberia which declared the 11th day of February of each year as Armed Forces Day to be observed as a National Holiday in recognition of the vital role of the AFL in defending and protecting the country’s territorial integrity. The Proclamation directs and orders all military and paramilitary organizations within the Republic to organize and execute appropriate programs, parades and ceremonies in recognition of the day.   According to the Proclamation, special attention and honor are to be given to the “veterans” of the Army and the Coastguard, who have seen active and experienced actual service therein.The Proclamation further directed and ordered all government offices, public and business houses closed during the observance of the day.A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also stated that Liberia has found it necessary to recognize the talents, services, patriotism, loyalty and gallantry for the upkeep of country’s noble heritage by those men and women who are now memorialized through the establishment of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as ordered by the Act Of The National Legislature Of Liberia on  July 22, 2008.“With the passage of the National Defense Act Of 2008, the AFL remains steadfast in supporting the foundation for long-term security and economic development in Liberia as well as fostering regional peace for the consolidation of our emerging democracy”, the presidential  proclamation further declared.The proclamation also asserted that with the professional development of its men and women, the AFL has been reinvigorated to discharge its constitutional responsibilities of safeguarding the Liberian borders including remaining vigilant for possible foreign aggression, against the state and throughout the fight in containing the Ebola epidemic  outbreak in the country.The proclamation further noted that the observance of the event will inculcate the sense of loyalty and patriotism in the citizens of the nation and recognize the immense and sacrificial services rendered by the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces of Liberia for the protection of the free and democratic state of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UN Women, 12 Men Partner to End Violence against Women

first_imgThe United Nations Women and 12 Men non-governmental organizations have begun a collaborative campaign to tackle the growing wave of rape and other forms of violence against women.The two organizations last week engaged over 50 community dwellers in a one-day dialogue in the Moulton Corner Community in Brewerville outside Monrovia.This community mourned the recent death of a 13-year old girl who was allegedly raped to death by a man in his 50s.The dialogue, according to Mr. Arkie J. Tarr, lead facilitator of 12 Men, was intended to help community members to discuss and find ways to curb the gruesome act perpetrated against women, mainly children.Mr. Tarr revealed that the goal of the dialogue was to listen to community dwellers on possible causes of rape and how to mitigate the atrocity against females.“Today we understood that rape can be committed based on ritualistic purpose, we understood that poverty is a major cause of rape.  We understood that forced child marriage is a form of rape, and we also learned from the community dwellers that indecent dress code is also a factor of rape.  The lack of parental care is also part of the problem,” Mr. Tarr explained.He further revealed that 12 Men will shortly focus its attention in Bong, Grand Bassa and Margibi Counties to support similar dialogues.He continued, “Right now, the group is targeting areas in which the atrocity is mostly committed, because community dwellers in those areas are concerned.”Mr. Tarr indicated that, “At the just ended awareness-raising program, held at the S. T. Nagbe United Methodist Church in Monrovia, most panelists called for strong community partnership and engagement in combating rape and other forms of violence against women.”At the conclusion of the dialogue, community members in a focus group discussion decided on several recommendations, including empowering women, crafting drastic laws against perpetrators, engaging parents in self-employment initiatives to help alleviate poverty, including the execution of educational activities on modest dress codes for students, especially females.    Academic institutions and community leaders were encouraged to promote proper dress codes, especially for girls and young women.Regular engagement in dialogue to increase awareness was also encouraged.Speaking earlier, Zone 6 Police Superintendent, Blama Yancy, commended UN Women for the interaction and pledged his support in addressing violence against women.Supt. Yancy indicated that such a gathering creates a platform for community members to formulate ways to curtail rape and other crimes.He used the forum to admonish community dwellers not to engage in mob justice but should rather turn alleged perpetrators of crimes over to the law enforcement officers for proper redress.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Islam Does Not Permit Aggression or Terror

first_imgAssociate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh has described as hypocrites terrorists who are causing global chaos yet perceive themselves to be Muslims.Forcefully condemning terrorism and suicide he said Islam does not permit aggression or terror in any form.Associate Justice Ja’neh made these assertions as guest lecturer at a workshop held last Saturday for Imams from across the country.The event was held in observance of the 20th anniversary of the National Imams Council of Liberia (NICL).“Why are these terrorists labeled Islamic terrorists when in fact Muslims themselves are the very victims of these terrorist attacks?” he asked.“The fact that these terrorists carry what appears to be the Muslims’ creed is no justification for such inhumane acts. Labeling these people as Islamist terrorists is unreasonable and unfair,” Associate Justice Ja’neh contended. And yet it is not the world or the media that describes these perpetrators as Islamic terrorists, but the terrorists themselves.  For usually, after shooting people indiscriminately, the terrorists flee, often on motorbikes, announcing, “Allah is great!”Mr. Ja’neh called on NICL to come out regularly and condemn these heinous acts perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam.“We need to make our position on these issues known, so you need to come out and speak against these acts whenever they happen,” the Supreme Court Justice declared. He challenged Imams to learn the English language because, according to him, effective communication in English by Imams in the country will help to bridge the gaps of misunderstanding and foster better communication.Meanwhile, Justice Ja’neh, who is also a Muslim, has decried the high level of corruption in the Muslim community in Liberia, especially among Imams who are the spiritual heads of the Islamic faith.Giving an example of the corrupt activities carried out by Imams without mentioning any name, he said a prominent Imam, a few years ago, collected over US$13,000 from Muslims who were desirous of travelling to Saudi Arabia on a holy journey.“He collected the people’s money and is yet to account for it. The people were unable to make the journey. The money has not reached the National Hajj Committee of which I am a member. Unfortunately, since the incident, no Imam has spoken on this blatant community betrayal on the part of the Imam,” Justice Ja’neh charged.There is an accountability problem among Muslims, most notably Imams, who are often entrusted with community funds, said Justice Ja’neh, challenging  the NICL to rise up to confront and address such ills perpetrated by their colleagues because the Quran speaks strongly against those wrongs.The revelation by Justice Ja’neh may come as a shock to many, especially non-Muslims, because of their perception of imams being more upright than their counterparts from other religions. The perceived harmony and unity in the Muslim Ummah (community) in the country is also because internal fights are kept out of the public domain.Justice Ja’neh’s revelation, however, suggests that all is not peaceful as it appears on the outside, a member of the Ummah said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ganta City Council Demands Flat Roofs on Main Street

first_imgThe Ganta City Council (GCC) in conjunction with the city corporation has begun enforcing a policy that compels people building on the main street to erect flat roofs.The decision, according to Ganta City Council Chairman, Amos Saye Gbatu, was made prior to the road reaching Ganta.The enforcement, however, is taking effect in the wake of CHICO reaching Ganta with the road construction work. The ordinance has sparked a high level of euphoria not only among personnel of the local authority but also among the public.Mr. Gbatu indicated that the GCC remains consistent and forceful in implementing the new regulation, adding that there is another regulation in the offing. He spoke in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer over the weekend in Ganta.He emphasized that the decision, when implemented, will give a better facelift to the city as development unfolds.He said they empathize with residents especially businesspeople for the stress associated with the regulation and the ongoing road work.Said Mr. Gbatu, development does not come easily, stressing that it requires all to endure pain.Presuming that there may be some people refusing to comply, he asserted that the GCC has lawyers to deal with anyone failing to comply with the regulation.He warned that those without the capacity or refusing to comply should leave their land vacant, but should not erect any structure that is not a flat roof on the main street.Part of the main street now occupied by flat roof buildings stretches from the Monrovia parking to Guinea Road intersection where the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) is located.As for the street leading from the turning point to LPMC and then Saclepea Highway, Mr. Gbatu said “We are going step by step and when the time comes, those along that line will see reason to begin doing the same when they see that one side of the city is given a facelift.”He added that when the government begins constructing the road from Ganta to the Southeast, residents along that street would already be adjusted to the regulation and will start to undertake projects in line with the city ordinance.Amid the enforcement, many entrepreneurs in Ganta have registered their willingness to erect flat roofs on the main street, with Madison Gausi of the Wingus Business Center vigorously constructing one of the flat roof buildings.In a related development, the pavement of the road leading from Ganta to Yekepa through Saniquellie is underway as the Senegalese company, CSE, has begun moving its equipment along the highway.There is also a road beginning at the main street of Ganta to Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland Counties.This highway, sometimes referred to as the Ganta-Harper Highway, was undergoing construction from 1984 to the beginning of the Liberian civil crisis in 1989.The work was abandoned due to the civil crisis that ended in 2003, except for the segment beginning from Fishtown, River Gee County to Maryland that is undergoing construction with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

#LIBTAKEOVER: A Reflection

first_imgA week before the 26th of July, Liberia’s independence day, a storm hit Social Media. The indomitable storm that was #libtakeover could not be ignored as I scrolled down my Facebook and Twitter news feeds. As the hashtag depicts, I too was taken over by admiration upon reading the numerous Liberian colloquialisms and parables; some old and others new, all bore a semblance of uniqueness and humor about them – a uniqueness Liberians have come to be known for. Throughout that week, it became a front on which Liberians, both at home and in the diaspora united towards one common goal, whose purpose was yet unknown, aside from the entertainment it delivered. Although I didn’t participate, I followed closely for days and wondered where the hashtag came from and what inspired its genesis. I wondered if the creator was just caught up in the celebrations or “jolly-jolly” associated with that time of year. Could the hashtag have arisen from the founder’s desire to see a new and transformed Liberia, or did it emerge from a feeling of homesickness while basking in Minnesota’s Brooklyn Park, Staten Island’s Park Hill, or Ghana’s Buduburan Refugee Camp? Did its inventor think that #libtakeover would actually take over the internet that week? Those thoughts lingered for days as the ’26’ celebrations heated up, and were reinforced when it became impossible to see regular Facebook posts from Liberians, other than those relating to the phenomenon. Scrolling through this time, I was struck and in awe – Liberian humor was certainly undeniable and at the core of every Liberian; perhaps this could be attributed to our ability to bounce back after every setback. Yes, we just laugh and shake it off! Taylor Swift must have heard about a group of people called Liberians when she made the song “Shake It Off”- that’s what we do — we shake off our trials and tribulations effortlessly. That quality, though heroic, plagued me with several questions: Are we stuck in the resilience and shake-it-off mode, waiting for our next trial to overcome, or are we waiting for the next “did-well-trophy”? Have we gotten so accustomed to shaking it off that we often ignore the recovery process of looking our challenges straight in the eye and working towards getting them completely out of our system, in order to prevent a recurrence? Yes, we are strong people, but is that all we want to be known for? Those thoughts were further emphasized when I played back a point made byU.S Ambassador to Liberia, Her Excellency Deborah Malac, while sitting next to her at the National Policy Makers’ Dialogue held at the Monrovia City Hall in May of this year. Throughout the dialogue, several Liberian speakers applauded Liberians as being a “resilient people’’. It was as if the word “resilient” was the theme of the day. Every time they’d use the word, Amb. Malac would look rather disappointed. At one point, I leaned over to chat with her briefly, and she said “It’s high time Liberians do something about the word resilient. Yes, we know and agree that you all are resilient and strong people, but how can that resilience lead to actual results? To me, using resilience to describe Liberians indicates that they’re just sitting around and waiting for the next catastrophe to befall them so that they can overcome it, instead of taking steps to ensure that they don’t happen again. Liberians should replace that word with another word that speaks to action and results. Before the close of the independence week, I began to reflect more seriously on what a true takeover would look like as Liberia turned 168 years old, with the clouds of war, Ebola, and infrastructural challenges still hanging over us. Several days after the holiday, I glanced through my feed this time, startled to discover that the #libtakeover hashtag had ended as quickly as it started, right after the independence festivities. I waited patiently to see if the same enthusiasm would resurface for the August 24th Flag Day celebrations, but the #libtakeover had vanished from our news feeds for good, thus leaving me with the conclusion that it was yet another fanfare meant for social media that week. Maybe, like the ambassador, I too had expectations and had every right to, as I yearned for the Liberia of old — the one the older folks spoke so passionately about. The one captured in Yorel Francis’ “The Wealth of Liberia Restored”, which brought me to tears when I first saw it. I, like many of my peers did not see that Liberia, because we were too little when the country’s civil war began, and we’d lost 14 years of our childhood living through those tumultuous years. The last ten years of peace in Liberia were seemingly the only peaceful years many of us had known in our lifetime – our version of “normal days”.The Oxford Dictionary defines “Takeover” as “an act of assuming control over something.”How then can we assume responsibility and take charge of the task of building a new Liberia? How do we build upon the legacy of the glorious “normal days” and move towards a brighter future? How do we reclaim our place amongst nations, as that nation which was once the beacon of hope for the rest of Africa? How can we live up to the captivating legacy of a country once considered home to the likes of the Priestess of Soul, Nina Simone, and Jazz great, Hugh Masekela, who, upon visiting Liberia in the 70s was granted Liberian citizenship and passport, when he was exiled from his country due to his outspoken stance against apartheid? Intrigued by the beautiful culture and people of Liberia, Mr. Masekela would remark that our country had “some of the most beautiful women I’d seen since my return to Africa.” What was that thing that kept Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom fascinated with Liberia, to the extent of paying several state visits to the small nation? True to its name, Liberia (land of the liberty), it was indeed a land many flocked to, particularly Africans and other peoples of color, to experience what was called “Small America’’- supposedly an African equivalent of western democracy. A land whose beautiful women were lauded once more in the Michael Jackson’s hit song, “Liberian Girl”, as being “more precious than any pearl.” A land that many borrowed from and a place founded to be the safe haven for all blacks across the world. Even in its troubled days, many still cannot get enough of the fascination that is Liberia. Why is that so?I envision the #libtakeover hashtag as more than merely a spectacle, but the birth of a movement – a new renaissance born out of patriotism; a call to action that compels us to quit the “blame game” and take full responsibility for the development of Liberia. I visualized it as being a movement that unites and boldly propels us to be the change we so fervently seek. I envisage #libtakeover as a force that would resurrect us from the pits of complacency and stagnation, into a new era of transformation. To mention that the hashtag blazed a trail on social media would be an understatement, but how can we take that same zeal and enthusiasm off of social media, turning it into a movement that is as powerful as the #blacklivesmatter movement, which was also born on social media, but became an actual force of change that’s making waves across the U.S and the world? How can Liberia (LIB) takeover in the true definition of the word “takeover’’?LIB can only takeover when we invest in our educational sector, while training and producing qualified teachers to mold the young minds of our children, inculcating in them the value and importance of education. LIB can only takeover when we inspire the youth to take on the task of leadership, by educating and empowering them to become the next generation of Engineers, Doctors, Teachers, Lawyers, Geologists, Economists, Historians, Writers, Business Executives etc., to steer her into a productive future. By doing this, they become vehicles for development, not instruments of violence.LIB can only truly take over when we rebuild our roads and infrastructure, thereby strengthening regional trade and collaboration with other African states.LIB can only take over when we strengthen and equip our justice system to allow the rule of law to take its course, without fear or favor, thus reducing the culture of impunity. LIB can surely takeover when we work towards building a sustainable economy that serves as the catalyst for a strong private sector and middle class, while ensuring economic growth and equal opportunities for all.LIB can only take over when we stop cutting corners and taking the easy ride of corruption to the top, leaving the masses to suffocate at the bottom.LIB can only take over when it becomes the hub of entrepreneurship and social innovation on the African continent, boasting of ventures that are driven by young and progressive visionaries who are passionate about its future.LIB can only truly take over when basic social services are available to all regardless of socio-economic status.LIB can only take over when we strengthen our healthcare system, to reduce the high rates of infant and maternal mortality, while meeting the needs of the poor.LIB can take over when we’re able to look past religious, tribal, and political differences and work towards the common goal of nation-building.LIB can only truly take over when Gender Equality is no longer a “taboo” but a reality that enables women to thrive, while maximizing their full potential. LIB can truly take over when our Farmers are equipped to go back to the soil to grow more food, to ensure a self-sufficient Liberia.LIB can takeover when our security sector stands firm to protect and uphold the sovereignty of the state, while maintaining the peace we all enjoy today, even as UNMIL draws down next year.LIB can genuinely takeover when we are fully integrated into the 21st century’s technological revolution, equipping our young people to become the next generation of Programmers, Civil Engineers, Software Developers/Engineers, Systems Analysts, etc.LIB can completely takeover when we’re proud to identify as Liberians, embracing our beautiful cultural heritage, promoting arts & culture, and discarding the belief that we aren’t “African enough”.LIB can only takeover when we stop looking at the government as a separate entity from us, and start acknowledging the fact that we, ordinary citizens make up the government.Lastly, as the 2017 elections approach, it is important to note that LIB will certainly take over when we value the power of our votes and stop selling our “rights for rice.”In the words of British Playwright, George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”With the Agenda for Transformation as our roadmap towards achieving the ‘Liberia Rising Vision 2030’, it is my hope that this new era of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) marks a shift in our mindsets, as we work collectively, backing our actions with renewed faith and commitment to undoubtedly usher LIB into an age of sustainable economic dominance and true developmental takeover.Patrice Juah is a Mandela Washington Fellow for President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Creative Entrepreneur, Writer, Girls’ Education Advocate and Former Miss Liberia. She currently sits on the Advisory Committee for the 5th annual African Creative Economy Conference to be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon in October. Ms. Juah can be reached via email : Patjuah2001@yahoo.comShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

AfDB to Complete 3 Rural Water Projects in May

first_imgThe management of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) has assured the public that three rural water and sanitation projects being funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at a cost of US$40 million, are expected to be completed by May this year.The projects are in Kakata, Margibi County, Buchanan, Grand Bassa County and Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.LWSC Managing Director, N. Humbo Tulay, last weekend led a team of engineers to assess progress on the projects. At the Kakata project site, Resident Engineer Samuel Yoyowah briefed Messrs. Tulay and Sandikie with technical details on the progress and challenges facing the project.Mr. Sandikie said the distribution of water in Margibi County has on the basis of institutional chambers been expanded to serve private, public and business establishments.He added that one new well has been drilled, two old ones rehabilitated and the main degraded water distribution tower upgraded to its prewar status in Kakata City. Mr. Sandikie further disclosed that when the Kakata City water project is completed, the distribution of pipe-borne water will cater to 3,000 customers and that customers’ chambers have been constructed. He also said that in Kakata City alone, 10 de-sludge latrines have been constructed under the same UWSSP project intended to provide the public with safe modern latrines as part of the sanitation component.For his part, the UWSSP Project Engineer Samuel Yoyowah said due to the expansion component of the project, new areas of Kakata City have been connected with pipe-borne water.Prior to the new water project, Mr. Yoyowah said a majority of the residents in Kakata got water from shallow wells.He said to date there are 30 institutional chamber connections in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.Previous land occupied by LWSC in Buchanan has been reacquired and construction work is ongoing.To deter residents from encroaching on the LWSC facilities, Mr. Sandikie recommended the fencing and full demarcation of all LWSC facilities.At the end of the tour, LWSC Managing Director Tulay assured residents that the project will be completed in the stipulated timeframe.Mr. Tulay added that when the water and sanitation projects are completed, 67 percent of the population will have access to pipe-borne water in Kakata, Zwedru and Buchanan cities respectively.He also explained that prior to the civil conflict Kakata, Zwedru and Buchanan had access to pipe-borne water.In 2008, Tulay said the LWSC management revamped its facilities in Kakata City to 50 percent capacity.For the Zwedru City water system, Mr. Tulay said the facilities were restored to 40 percent.The objective of the three city water projects is to restore 100 percent water supply and some expansion and distribution networks in the three cities.“What I have seen today of the projects impressed me so much that engineers of the UWSSP have supervised the works well and our hired consultant has performed to our expectations,” Director Tulay noted. Mr. Tulay added that from the documents received and the level of work done, 60 percent of the projects’ implementation plans have been completed.As for the sanitation in Kakata, 50 percent has been completed, while in Buchanan, 50 to 55 percent of sanitation has also been completed.Mr. Tulay said by July 2016, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a team of government officials will commission the facilities at one of the water project sites. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

OPIC, IBLL Sign US$20M Agreement

first_imgThe U.S. Government’s development finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has signed a commitment for a US$20 million direct loan to International Bank Liberia Limited (IBLL) to support lending in sectors such as construction, services, manufacturing, agribusiness, hospitality, and transportation.The agreement also seeks to foster jobs and opportunities by supporting investments in key economic areas and increasing long term lending to Liberia’s private sector.OPIC President and Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth L. Littlefield, who signed the commitment on Monday, observed that the Liberian banking sector is faced with a number of critical challenges, which the loan will allow to expand.“We are pleased to be working with IBLL on this facility,” said Mrs. Littlefield. “The OPIC loan agreement will allow IBLL to address a gap in the marketplace by providing clients in the road infrastructure construction sector, manufacturing sector, agribusiness sector, and other industries with long term credit facilities which will enable those clients to significantly contribute to Liberia’s economic recovery.”She said OPIC’s role is to provide long-term loans and risk mitigation to support such investments. “Our portfolio in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown by more than $6 billion in recent years. However, that is still too small, and we aim to change that. We are here to listen and learn, as those who live within an economy invariably have the greatest insight into its needs and potential, and into what needs to be done to attract and keep the private investment that is so essential to job creation,” she said.Mrs. Littlefield emphasized that her company is in the country to stand in solidarity with Liberians—along with the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Power Africa interagency coalition—to underscore that the future of the two nations (Liberia and U.S.) will continue to be intertwined. “We are here to offer Liberian companies face-to-face access to investors and to provide information about the resources that OPIC and interested investors may be able to share,” she said.Also speaking, Pan African Capital Group founder and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen D. Cashin, said they are excited to be working with OPIC on the loan facility and appreciate the confidence OPIC has in IBLL; one of the strongest and most profitable commercial banks in Liberia. With its young, energetic, and committed Liberian management team, IBLL will continue to grow as one of the leading financial institutions in the country.For his part, IBLL Chief Executive Officer Henry F. Saamoi said he is proud that his company has survived the trials and tribulations brought upon the country as a result of the civil crisis and followed by the scourge of the Ebola Virus Disease. “Madam Littlefield, Madam Ambassador and other development partners, health security is at the core of the fund,” he said. “The Ebola crisis proved that the definition of public health needs to be broader than just hospitals. It needs to be expanded to investment in jobs, manufacturing, skills building and economic sustainability.“Our country, struggling to recover from the twin shocks of the Ebola crisis and the sharp decline in commodity prices, has led to business closures, including mining concessions and consequently the loss of jobs and reduction in the fiscal revenue envelope of the country.”Mr. Saamoi said IBLL will therefore identify and use the loan to support strategic operating partners to build companies to capitalize on the opportunities that will have maximum impact on the Liberian market.Based in Monrovia, the loan’s management team will be led by the Pan African Capital Group of Liberians with extensive experience in managing investments. The team will be supported by investors with significant Sub-Saharan African and Liberian Experience, the IBLL CEO said.“Today is a significant moment for IBLL and this initiative has come a long way, but it was worth all the efforts, and we want to give special thanks to Mr. Michael McNutly of OPIC, who worked tirelessly with IBLL in getting us to this point and our very own Stephen Murray and Gerald Woels of the Pan African Capital Group,” he added.Saamoi further acknowledged the role of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the level of support and the supervisory oversight that has stabilized the banking sector, thus generating trust and confidence in the Liberian banking system.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Affirmative Action, Gola Forest Acts Go To Conference C’ttees

first_imgThe leadership of the Senate has set up two separate conference committees to work with their counterparts in the House of Representatives to reconcile differences in the passage of the Gola Affirmative Action and the Forest Acts, respectively.The five-member Conference Committee constituted to work with the House of Representatives on the Gola Forest National Park is headed by Grand Kru County Senator and Chairman of the Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Albert Chie; and assisted by Senators Morris Saytumah, Daniel Naatehn and Thomas Grupee, among others.Senator Peter Sonpon Coleman, who chairs the Committee on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women and Children Affairs, is chairing a five-member Conference Committee on the Affirmative Action Act.It may be recalled that following a series of public hearings, the Senate on August 25, passed the Affirmative Action for Equitable Participation and Representation Act of 2016.According to the Senate version of the Act, “upon its passage, 21 Special Legislative Constituencies are established within the country for which additional 21 members of the House of Representatives shall be elected beginning with the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.”The would-be beneficiaries of the 21 seats are women, youth, and members of the disabled community. However, the House of Representatives passed the Act, but drastically reduce the number of seats from 21 to seven. They then sent it back to the Senate, a decision that has prompted the constitution of a conference committee. According to the House’s passage, there would be five seats for women to be divided among five regions, while the youth and persons living with disabilities will have their respective seats. Meanwhile, the Act establishing the Gola Forest National Park was first passed by the House of Representatives in September 2015; a year later in September 2016, the Senate concurred with the House for its enactment.The Act is mainly intended to work side-by-side with the numerous protocols and international instruments aimed at curbing the devastating consequences of climate change.It maintains that despite her relatively small territorial size, Liberia contains a significant amount of biodiversity of over 2,900 different vascular plants, including 225 trees species, 500 bird species, 500 mammal species, and 75 reptiles.The establishment of the Gola National Park is among 10 Bills President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sent to the Legislature to be acted upon during the one month Special Sitting.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Women to Launch New Organization Tomorrow

first_imgThe political landscape will be enhanced with the emergence of the Women’s Agenda for Leadership in Liberia (WALL) a new organization expected to be officially launched in Monrovia tomorrow Thursday, November 10.According to a statement signed by Dr. Evelyn Kandakai and Mrs. Myrtle Gibson, both senior members of WALL, the organization will contribute to the country’s democratic process and provide women candidates support in the upcoming 2017 presidential and legislative elections. WALL also aims to encourage women to vote during the elections. They two senior officials of WALL said the launch will witness a presentation by the Children’s Assembly in a panel discussion under the theme, “Liberian Women and Politics.” Dr. Kandakai said the panelists will include Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff; an executive of the National Patriotic Party, Nathaniel Barnes; Mrs. Andriennie Bloom-Salawahpue; and Montserrado County Representative Edward Forh in his position as HeforShe Coordinator at the Legislature.The women extended their solidarity through WALL to Mrs. Hilary R. Clinton during yesterday’s U.S. Presidential elections. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more