‘No Room for Complacency: U.S Ambassador Declares at $US15M Grant Signing


07/07/2010 – Nat Nyuan Bayjay, nbayjay@frontpageafrica.com ( 231-77-402-737

“Ghana, Senegal and Mali have enjoyed this Threshold Program, Ghana coming as an example where U.S$ 500,000,000 where alot were being done, and with such funds available to Liberia, a lot can be done in road constructions, health and even improve the lives of the citizens with some jobs creation.”

Dr. Linda Thomas Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia

Monrovia –

The United States Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) given assistance to Liberia is due to the hard work from the government over the past five years.

She said Liberia is now enjoying free press, political debate, open budgets and improving management of natural resources. She stressed that despite the government current efforts in putting citizens in school and the development process, more need to be done.

The Ambassador spoke Tuesday when a US$ 15M dollars grant was signed between the Liberian Government and the MCC for Threshold Program which is expected to last for three years.

Some of the students who will benefit from the fifteen million U.S. grant at signing ceremony Tuesday.

Ambassador Greenfield said the MCC Threshold Program should be handled by the government responsibly in all three areas, the land rights and access, girls’ primary education and trade policy. “Ghana, Senegal and Mali have enjoyed this Threshold Program, Ghana coming as an example where U.S$ 500,000,000 where alot were being done, and with such funds available to Liberia, a lot can be done in road constructions, health and even improve the lives of the citizens with some jobs creation,” the Ambassador said.

She told the audience that “There will be no room for complacency” during the implementation of the funds, adding that many countries do not always complete the transition from Threshold to Compact status because they failed to control corruption, but she is confident that Liberia will pass that stage and reach to the compact status as expected.

The Senior Advisor for MCC, Cassandra Butts in her remarks before the signing ceremony said Liberia and the United States of America share both history and hope for the future, relating to the 1820s when freed African-Americans and freed slaves from United States settled in Liberia. “Today, we remain partners on the number of fronts, from promoting democracy and good governance, to deepening security, to achieving sustainable development,” the Senior Advisor said.

USAID Director Pamela White and Planning and Economic Affairs Minister Amara Konneh sign grant Tuesday.

She added that the US Government, one of its most innovative models for the delivery of development assistance, the MCC invests in poor, but well-governed, countries. “Our partners share our commitment to good policies, to fighting corruption, to investing in their people and to broadening economic freedoms,” Madam Butts emphasized.

Madam Butts said the three years threshold program will focus on the land rights and access, girls’ primary education and trade policy. Saying “The three areas of concentration are necessary since they represent key constraints to economic growth, identified by Liberians themselves and as part of their own national development.”

Madam Butts further said the United States Agency for Development (USAID), headed by Pamela White will bring valuable field presence and expertise and MCC will focus on results through rigorous, transparent monitoring and evaluation.

President Sirleaf with U.S. lawmakers at signing ceremony Tuesday.
For her part, the President of Liberia, Madam Sirleaf said the coming of President Barrack Obama as US first Black President, many information came that the Threshold program will not continue and it was at the time the government was still working to be qualified to be a part of the program. But with President Obama continuing the program, she extends thanks to him and the US Congress for allowing the program to exist.

The Liberian leader said with the establishment of Girls Education Trust (GET), through the help of institutions from the United States and private individuals, more than 5,000 girls are on scholarships currently.

On the issue of girls’ primary education, the president said it has not complicated in getting girls to attend primary school, but when girls reached the junior high or senior level, for some reasons like poverty, early marriages sometimes serve as setbacks for girls to continue their higher education which she said is still a problem that the government is faced with.

She stressed all of the African nations have hoped over the years to have a trade policy instead of aid to put their natural resources to work and sustain their own development process. She extended thanks to the US Congressional delegates and hoped that the grant will improve the development process of Liberia.

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