Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received in audience the new Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Australia to Liberia, Her Excellency Mrs. Joanna Marie Adamson, during a ceremony at the President’s Foreign Ministry Office.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf noted with satisfaction the enormous contributions of the Government and people of Australia in support of peace and stability, and in further development of Liberia’s economy.
“Your Government’s assistance to the joint UN-Government of Liberia Justice and Security Trust Fund (JSTF) has gone a long way towards supporting critical security sector reform initiatives in Liberia, particularly toward improvements of the institutional and operational capacities of the Liberian National Police,” the Liberian leader said, adding that Australia’s immense contributions to the restoration of peace in Liberia did not come as much of a surprise. The Australian Government provided about US$1 million to JSTF to support security sector reform.
The President also thanked the Australian Government for its contribution to UNICEF’s National Youth Service Program (2011-2013), which has helped advance youth employment and empowerment across various regions in Liberia. She was equally grateful for the 20 Australian Awards scholarships which continue to positively impact the country’s human capacity development program.
On the economy, President Sirleaf noted with satisfaction the various Australian companies that are now actively involved in mineral exploration, each committing millions of dollars for exploration and capital expenditure, and which are expected to provide much needed revenue and jobs to the Government and ordinary Liberians, respectively. Among the 10 Australian companies actively engaged in Liberia are: BHP Billiton, Planet Minerals Ltd., and West African Geo Service Inc.
“These laudable efforts, Madam Ambassador, are indicative of the strong, harmonious and cordial ties we have enjoyed. Furthermore, they continue to strengthen the foundation of our bilateral and diplomatic relations,” the Liberian leader observed.
She stated that Liberia is well on the path of reconstruction and restoration, “thanks to the various international partnerships we have forged which have resulted into significant security, political and economic achievements.” The President added, “As we celebrate another milestone in our relationship by your presentation of these credentials, we are optimistic of the positive outcomes this long-standing relation will derive, further cementing diplomatic ties of cooperation and friendship.” President Sirleaf assured Ambassador Adamson of Government’s cooperation and assistance in ensuring her successful tour of duty.
Presenting her Letters of Credence to President Sirleaf earlier, Her Excellency Mrs. Joanna Marie Adamson called it an exciting time to have been appointed the Commonwealth of Australia’s Ambassador to Liberia, especially when the relationship between both countries is rapidly growing. She expressed her Government’s commitment to working closely with the Liberian Government in fostering bilateral relations to a new level.
Highlighting some of the Australian companies actively exploring in Liberia, she said: “These companies are committing several million dollars in exploration and capital expenditure which will bring development and employment to Liberians and government revenue as well.”
Ambassador Adamson said Australia recognizes the importance of effective mining governance to ensure that the people of Liberia get a just return on their mineral assets. “Mining governance is therefore a key element of our development assistance program,” she pointed out. Already, Australia has begun a technical assistance program to support the Natural Resources Taxation Unit in the Ministry of Finance. Likewise, Liberian officials have taken part in mining study tours to Australia, and received short- and long-term awards for mining-related studies there. “We are looking at other ways in which we can support and enhance Liberia’s mining governance,” she stated.
In other areas of development assistance cooperation during 2013, Australia has provided 20 Australia Awards scholarships to Liberia – 12 long-term awards and 8 short course awards – in mining, health, environment and governance
Ambassador Adamson said Australia is also committed to working with Liberia to consolidate peace and security. She stressed that during her tour of duty in Liberia, she will encourage close people-to-people links between both countries. “The launch later today of the African Women in Leadership Network will encourage closer links not only between women from countries across Africa, but between Australia and Liberian women as well,” the new Ambassador emphasized.
Ambassador Adamson, with residence in Ghana, is the Commonwealth of Australia’s second Ambassador accredited to Liberia since the two countries established diplomatic relations in February 2009.His Excellency Mr. William (Billy) Williams served as Australia’s first Ambassador to Liberia. Previously, Liberia benefited from Australia’s training programs in the late 1960s when Senior Ambassador-at-Large, Marcus Kofa, went for studies in Sydney.