President Weah Underscores Gains of Trip Abroad

Monday, 19th December 2022

Photo Credit: Executive Mansion

Monrovia, Liberia - The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah returned to the country on Monday, December 19, 2022, following a successful international trip that took him to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States of America.

President Weah and entourage safely touched down minutes past Noon at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) to a tumultuous welcome from hundreds of thousands of Liberians, including partisans of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

The enthusiastic flags-waving and banners-carrying supporters and well-wishers comprising women, children, students, and the elderly who swarmed the airport chanted, "Welcome back home, Mr. President!"

As if the crowd at the Airport was not enough, thousands of supporters who couldn't make it to the Airport lined the main route from RIA to Central Monrovia to give the President a deserving “welcome-home” reception.

"Our pa na come! Our pa na come!" they chanted while others also yanked: "We love you, Mr. President, Our leader!"

Apart from those who thronged the RIA and other areas, the Dominion Christian Fellowship Center on Tubman Boulevard was also an epicenter of attraction for the welcome home Thanksgiving and Intercessory Service in honor of the President.

At the Service, the body of Christ offered prayers and thanked God for carrying and bringing President Weah and his entourage back home safely.

Making remarks at the solemn assembly characterized by inspirational songs, President Weah said he was overjoyed to be back home after what he termed 'an extensive tour of duty abroad in the interest of the People of Liberia’.

He acknowledged God with thanksgiving for granting him traveling mercies and for keeping Liberia peaceful, stable, and secure during his absence.

President Weah dispelled claims of abandoning the country, saying though he was physically absent, the Office of the President of the Republic of Liberia was however very present and active, and that he was being contacted daily for his leadership and guidance.

“During that time, I appointed and dismissed officials of Government, signed Bills into law, and gave my direct and personal attention to matters of State and governance,” the President retorted.  Continuing he said: “While away, the Government of Liberia was running, and matters of national interest were handled expeditiously.”

According to him, the visit abroad was necessary and imperative because it was in the national interest and that Liberia has derived substantial benefits from it.

“Our travel started when I accepted an invitation from His Majesty King Mohamed VI, and departed Liberia at the head of a high-level delegation for the Kingdom of Morocco to participate in the MEDays International Forum convened in Tangier, the Kingdom of Morocco from November 2 - 5, 2022. We delivered the keynote address at the MEDays Forum,” the Liberian Chief Executive asserted.

The Forum which brought together over 5000 participants, including world leaders, created an opportunity to discuss the main geopolitical, economic and social issues facing the planet, including the war in Ukraine, conflicts and instability in Africa, tensions in the Indo-Pacific, food and energy crises, and inflation and climate change.

President Weah informed the nation that, during his trip to Morocco, he met with senior government officials of Hungary and received a commitment of $50 million in Export Credit for investment and other purposes in Liberia.

The President also said he was able to secure an additional fifteen scholarships for young and deserving Liberians students to study in Hungary, bringing to twenty-five the total number of scholarships from Hungary annually.

The Liberian Leader stated also that he secured a major commitment from Tangier Med Port Authority to provide training and technical support to the National Port Authority, as well as an undertaking to transform and refurbish the Port of Greenville in Sinoe County.

Apart from the dividends accrued from the MEDays Forum in Morocco, he made the case for Liberia to benefit from millions of dollars in a carbon trading mechanism at the Climate Change Conference in Egypt

"We were also able to secure funding of $10 million United States Dollars for coastal defense barriers for Greenville, Sinoe County, and West Point in Monrovia," the President announced.

Reporting on Egypt, President Weah said: “While in Egypt, we also held talks with senior officials from the Government of Qatar, who committed to provide funding for the second phase of the Lofa County Road.”

President Weah who was also in Qatar and held bilateral meeting with the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamil bin Hamad Al-Thanin, said he received a commitment of $100 million for funding of Phase II of the Gbarnga - Mendikorma Highway in Lofa County.

“The Qatari Government also announced plans to spend an additional $50 million United States Dollars on sporting facilities in Liberia,” he said.

President Weah who also participated in the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit held from 13th to the 15th December, 2022, announced that he addressed a Forum of Diaspora Young People, during which he received special commendation from the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken “for our great leadership and ability to strengthen US-Liberia bonds.”

He also quoted Mr. Blinken, as saying further that under his leadership, “US-Liberia relations will flourish."

He said he was among a group of six African Heads of State who were selected out of the forty-nine invited leaders for a special meeting with President Biden at the White House to discuss the very crucial issues of elections, democracy, rule of law, and development.

“During the occasion of this exclusive but vital meeting, we made a strong pledge and commitment to ensure the conduct of a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and democratic elections in October 2023," he stated.

"We made it abundantly clear that under our watch, the democratic credentials of Liberia will be safeguarded, as well as its peace, stability, and security," he emphasized.

President Weah disclosed to the nation that the U.S. Government, in response, promised to spend $165 million United States Dollars next year on providing financial support to elections in our respective countries next year, of which Liberia is expected to receive approximately $20 million United States Dollars.

Commenting on the shift in the price of rice, President Weah informed the nation that he approved a recommendation from the recently-appointed Rice Stabilization Committee to increase the price of imported rice in Liberia, based on various external factors enumerated in their Report.

“We all know the causes of the price increases: from the COVID Pandemic to Climate Change and the war in the Ukraine. When rice prices started to rise in other places, my government did everything that it could to keep the prices low.”

“We know that imported rice in Liberia is the cheapest in West Africa, but I had made a promise to the Liberian people that rice prices will not increase. I remain mindful of that promise.”

According to him, the government is working on modalities to have large-scale private investment in rice production, saying that he asked partners to support us in this endeavor.

President Weah recalled his promise to all Liberians that he would do everything within his power to keep rice on the market and affordable, adding "I will ensure that never again should Liberians look for rice and not be able to find it."

“Yes, we acknowledge economic hardship in Liberia. We know that prices of basic commodities are increasing. This is not a unique situation to Liberia alone," he stressed.

He said there was no need to blame the situation at stake on the lack of knowledge to make qualitative decisions for the general well-being of the Liberian people.

President Weah emphasized that the precarious situation facing the nation is the result of the double effect of the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine. He, however, assured Liberians that the government is doing all within its powers to continue to bring relief to our people.