Liberian Renaissance

Released on = June 29, 2007, 4:20 pm

Press Release Author = Boima Rogers, By Design Events & PR

Industry = Government

Press Release Summary = The Government of Liberia has a new mission

Press Release Body = Press Release - 18th October 2006
Liberian Renaissance

The recent visit by the Liberian Vice President, Joseph Nyumay Boakai and his team,
including Dr J Chris Toe, Minister of Agriculture and John Woods, Director of the
Forestry Development Authority signifies the positive changes in the governance of
Africa's oldest republic. The team is reviewing an agreement between Nardina, a
company investing in the oil palm sector in Liberia and the previous transitional
government. The new government, which won a huge mandate in a freely contested
election at the end of 2005, is evaluating the agreement in the light of its
reformist policies, in particular to ensure transparency and that the national
interest is paramount.

The new government has set itself an impressive agenda and made significant gains in
the 10 months it has been running the country, with numerous efforts directed at
social and economic development issues. After a brutal war that devastated the
people and infrastructure the President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her team have put
into place an anti-corruption strategy, cultivated a free press and are reforming
the army and police to ensure that security, which is pivotal in the reconstruction
process, is entrusted in the hands of qualified professionals with clean human
rights records. Rehabilitation of the infrastructure is an uphill task that the
government is addressing with significant success. Electricity and water supplies
have been restored in many parts of the capital, Monrovia, and the aim is that by
early next year the whole city will be covered as will other towns in the country.
Motorists and pedestrians, who had not seen functioning traffic lights in the last
fifteen years, are most impressed that the new fully operational lights are bringing
order on the streets of the capital.

Economic revitalisation is a major thrust of the government. Rebuilding the physical
infrastructure such as roads and ports and making appropriate use of the country's
vast potential in the agriculture, forestry, fisheries and mining sectors are the
government's priorities. Agriculture where the bulk of the population make their
living and where improvements will have the greatest impact on food security is top
of the government's agenda. A strategic framework for agriculture has been
implemented whose cornerstones include:
. building capacity by restructuring institutions and developing human resources;
. supporting the transition from war and relief to peace and recovery by
reintegrating ex-combatants and creating a better climate for the private and public
. food security by ensuring availability and access for all sections of the

Recent successes include the government taking over the Guthrie plantation which had
been expropriated by a gang of ex combatants. The government has agreed a forestry
law and is developing a tracking mechanism which has seen a partial lifting of UN
sanctions on Liberia's Timber exports, sanctions are likely to be fully lifted by
December. It is also implementing the Kimberley process in the mining industry to
ensure transparency in that sector. Joseph N Boakai, the Vice-President said "our
government will pursue policies that will make full use of the human and natural
resources of our country".

After the economic meltdown under the Doe regime and ravages of the war years, the
Liberian government is keen to attract investments in the reconstruction process.
Ideal conditions for growing rubber, cocoa, oil palm, cashew nuts and various other
tropical products makes Liberia an attractive country for investors. There are
substantial reserves of gold, diamond and iron ore and the government will shortly
be awarding blocks to oil companies for exploration. The forestry and fishing
sectors also have huge potential and investors are welcome. In a bid to create a
conducive and transparent business climate, the government is reviewing the
investment code and implementing the GEMAP programme involving a team of
international experts who are looking at taxation and other policies and practices
that impact on investment. The government's reformist agenda means that while it
will continue to develop a conducive climate for domestic and foreign investors, the
interests of the people of Liberia are paramount. Consequently, it is reviewing
agreements made with the previous transitional government to ensure that they are
fair, transparent and the terms are not unusually onerous to the Liberian people.

The group that held talks with Nardina is part of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's formidable
team of ministers and senior officials. Joseph N Boakai, the Vice President is a
seasoned Executive having managed the largest commodity marketing company in
Liberia, LPMC, and stints as government Minister, Ambassador and as Head of a
consulting group. His trouble shooting and managerial skills have been used by
private companies, successive Liberian governments and international organisations
like the World Bank. Dr J Chris Toe, the Minister of Agriculture, who holds a PhD in
Agricultural Economics, left a very successful career as President of a large
university in America, Strayer, with a student population of 28,000 and an annual
income of US$178 millions. Dr Toe had presided over one of the fastest growing
universities in the USA in terms of student population and income. This is the
strength of the new government, men and women who have been tried and tested in
their fields in Liberia, other parts of Africa, Europe and America. Dr Toe, whose
current income is less than a tenth of what he made in the US, said "I could have
continued as President of Strayer University with all the benefits associated with
that institution but I wanted to give something back to my country which needed me

Basic Facts
Location West Africa
Climate/fauna Tropical rainforest
Population 3.3 million
Land area 111,370 Sq km
GDI per head US$130
Main Exports Iron Ore, Diamonds, Gold, Rubber, Coffee, Cocoa
Currency Liberian Dollar

Contact Details: Honourable Joseph Boakai, Vice President, Government of Liberia
(GOL) J Chris Toe, Minister of Agriculture, GOL: tel: 00 231 6478077, email: Boima Rogers: By Design Events & PR, 313 Wimborne Road,
Winton BH9 2AB tel: 01202 515851, email:

Web Site = http://

Contact Details = Boima Rogers, By Design, 313 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth UK

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