Thursday, October 11, 2007

Liberia: Germany Commits Additional Four Million Euros to Country

Sunday was another great day for Liberia as the first German female Chancellor Angela Merkel at the head of a powerful delegation paid a one-day state visit to the country. The visit of Chancellor Merkel is the first ever by a German leader to Liberia. GA_googleFillSlot("AllAfrica_Story_Inset"); During her visit, Chancellor Merkel committed additional 4 million Euros to Liberia's Infrastructure Fund for the infrastructure development of the country. This latest support of the German government to Liberia's Infrastructure Fund is in continuation of the early contribution of 11.8 million Euros which was provided to Liberia during President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's visit to that country in May this year. Chancellor Merkel, at a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assured her government commitment to supporting Liberia in its recovery drive. She commended President Johnson-Sirleaf for her government's far-reaching policies and programs intended to move Liberia from conditions of war to peace and socio-economic transformation. The German Chancellor pledged her country's continued support towards Liberia's economic revitalization and reconstruction programs. She also promised to appeal to other European countries to commit funds to Liberia's Infrastructure Fund in order to help with the reconstruction of the country damaged roads, bridges, among others. Chancellor Merkel at the same time promised to plead with other European and Western Countries for the waiver of Liberia's bilateral and multilateral debts. She praised the government and people of Liberia for the warn hospitality accorded her entourage throughout her visit to Liberia. For her part, President Johnson-Sirleaf said the visit of the German Chancellor indicates that Liberia was stable and now has good image in the international community, noting "this would attract more investors to Liberia." She lauded Chancellor Merkel for canceling Liberia's bilateral debts and leading the G-8 efforts that would result in the cancellation of Liberia's multilateral and bilateral debt the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) process. Johnson-Sirleaf also commended Germany for its ongoing assistance by providing financial assistance to support Liberia's reconstruction process especially by supporting the training of Liberian police recruits and support to the agriculture sector through the signing of a Letter of Intent to implement assistance to the rehabilitation of the cocoa sector. She then underscored the significance of having the German Ambassador resident in the country for which, she said, Liberia was particularly pleased. During the two Heads of State meeting, the Liberian leader apprised Chancellor Merkel of the domestic reforms and other stringent measures her government is pursuing to ensure economic recovery in order to improve the livelihood of the Liberian people. She encouraged Germany direct foreign investment in the Liberian economy. In the press communiqué, the two leaders, on the development of Africa, stressed the need for greater African cooperation and integration as well as greater resource flow from high income countries into Africa as a means of fostering sustainable development of the hybrid African Union and United Nations peacekeeping force in the region. Following the bilateral discussions, President Johnson-Sirleaf tendered a lunch in honor of Chancellor Merkel and her delegation. The German Chancellor later visited several projects being implemented in Liberia by GTZ, a German organization responsible for implementing the German government's bilateral assistance projects in developing countries. She also visited the police academy in Paynesville, near Monrovia where she met with the UN envoy in Liberia Alan Doss as well as the German police contingent serving in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) before departing Liberia late Sunday.