Pres. Weah Explains Pro-Poor Agenda
-At the UN General Assembly
In his first address before the United Nations General Assembly on September 2, 2018, HIs Excellency President George Manneh Weah used the occasion explain his rise to power and Liberia’s development policy, noting that his government has crafted a pro-poor agenda for prosperity.
According to him, “Late last year, Liberians participated in presidential and legislative elections, the results of which represented a major shift in the underlying fundamentals of the Liberian political dynamic. In an orderly, lawful, and a peaceful manner, Liberians voted in overwhelming numbers for a Change for Hope. This was the first time in 73 years that Liberians enjoyed a peaceful transfer of power from one democratically-elected government to another.He added that at the end of the long campaign, when the results were announced after the run-off, it became clear that the pendulum swung in the direction of youthful leadership, and the paradigm had shifted in favor of change and transformation.
President Weah recounted that the United Nations and its various bodies, as well as regional organizations and many of Liberia’s bilateral partners and friends, were direct witnesses to the maturity of the Liberian electorate, their respect for law and order, and the successful democratic processes.
“As standard bearer of the winning Coalition for Democratic Change, the mantle and responsibility of leading this transformation, therefore, devolved upon me when I was inaugurated as the 24th president of Liberia on January 22, 2018. The challenges of leadership are enormous, but in each and every one of these challenges, I see opportunities to make things better, and to bring permanent improvement to the lives of all Liberians.
He observed that as they devise policies and programs that will have a lasting and positive impact on the lives of the citizens, adding that
the umbrella program under which they intend to pursue prosperity is the Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity.
“our national development plan for the next five years. This is not an agenda only for the poor; it is for the benefit of all Liberians. But it is a policy framework that gives priority to the alleviation of poverty, and its core objective and focus is to reduce the marginalization of the most vulnerable, whilst at the same time creating a conducive atmosphere for the middle- and upper-income Liberian to grow and prosper.
He reechoed Liberia’s desire to build a harmonious society, based on the goal of economic empowerment, especially for the underprivileged. Our Pro-Poor Agenda is therefore designed to give power to the people, promote economic diversification, protect sustainable peace and encourage good governance.
“We appeal to our friends, bilateral partners, and private investors to support this agenda, and as we focus on action plans to implement our development agenda, we are acutely aware of the vulnerability of our youthful population, who are clearly disadvantaged as a result of high unemployment and a lack of access to quality education opportunities,” he said.
He noted that their plan is to reverse their unfortunate situation and make them productive citizens through the provision of adequate educational facilities at the high school and college levels for those who still have interest in pursuing academic programs.
For those youths left behind due to the disastrous civil crisis and who have outgrown their school years, my government is investing in technical vocational education and training programs to build their entrepreneurial and marketable skillsets.
Being conscious of the importance and impact of infrastructure on social and economic development, my government has identified investment in roads, energy, and ports as our key priority, and is therefore soliciting funding and other technical expertise to undertake these projects in pursuit of our goal to connect our cities and towns, and strengthen our economy.
About agriculture, President Weah said agriculture is Liberia’s comparative advantage and has also been identified as one of our major poverty-alleviation instruments because it will lead us to self-sufficiency in food production and self-employment, as well as open doors for industrialization. With the implementation of a new Special Economic Zone, we intend to attract labor-intensive light manufacturing.
He said drawing from Liberia’s experience of the 2014 Ebola Epidemic that took the lives of thousands of Liberians and health workers, adding that they intend to efficiently and properly organize Liberia’s healthcare delivery system, to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our people is improved.