Africa Just Called for the End of Poverty; The World Must Listen

first_imgAfrican leaders did a remarkable thing on Friday: They called for the end of extreme poverty, in all its forms. The response to this rallying call will define our generation.At the start of the Millennium, the world decided to work together to fight poverty, and agreed the Millennium Development Goals. Since then, these shared goals have spurred impressive progress, including in Liberia.Life has certainly improved for Liberian children during the Millennium Development Goals era. The fastest reduction of preventable child deaths in Africa. 100 fewer children dying every 1000 births. Net enrolment in primary schools increasing by 42 percent. Life expectancy at birth increasing by an astounding 13 years. The Millennium Development Goals helped to spur this vital progress.At the end of 2015, the Millennium Development Goals expire. We need a new plan.After all, in Liberia there is still much to do. Most Liberians still live far below the $1.25 a day poverty line. Just this week, Save the Children published a report revealing that every year, 3,000 Liberian children die on their first day on earth.What the world plans to do about poverty after 2015 will matter enormously to children in Liberia.When the Millennium Development Goals were written, Africans didn’t have much of a say. This time must be different. African peoples must lead the debate.This week Africa made a start. And Liberia led the way.On Friday, the African Union’s High Level Committee of Heads of State on the Post-2015 Agenda, Chaired by Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, launched the ‘Common African Position’ on what the world should achieve by 2030.The Common African Position is inspiring. It says the overarching aim of the post-2015 agenda should be the end poverty in all its forms.And the African position also starts to set out a plan.It’s full of exciting proposals. Equitable access to good quality affordable basic healthcare for all, education as the foundation for development, drinkable water for all, close the sanitation gap, decent and productive employment, action to reduce inequalities, fair taxation, wider access to social protection, universal human rights: the list goes on.The African position also focuses on ending crucial drivers of poverty, like preventable newborn, child and maternal deaths, gender-based wage inequality, all forms of violence against women and children, child labour, and early marriage.If poverty is to end in Liberia, these problems must end first.Finally, the Common African Position is inspiring because it is, well, common.The African leaders commit to speak with one voice, and act in unity whilst seeking to ensure Africa’s voice is integrated into the global development agenda.As the global negotiations in New York become ever more fraught, a unified voice for Africa will add up to more than the sum of its parts.And if African leaders continue to reach out to their peoples, asking them what they want, then Africa’s shared voice will only be more legitimate and more persuasive on the world stage. The post-2015 framework will be more likely to address people’s needs and aspirations.At the turn of the Millennium, the world debated what people in richer countries thought Africans needed. This time, if Africans speak up, the world might work with African peoples to achieve what Africans say they want.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Japan to Provide US$2.7M Food Assistance to Liberia

first_imgJapanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono with Liberia’s Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar M. Findley in TokyoThe Government of Japan has announced US$2.7 million worth of Food Assistance to the Government and people of Liberia with the aim to address Liberia’s food security situation, a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.According to the release, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono made the disclosure at his office in Tokyo when he held a bilateral meeting with Liberia’s Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar M. Findley.Minister Kono told his counterpart that his government is intensifying efforts aimed at elevating Liberia-Japan bilateral relations.As part of the efforts, Minister Kono said the Government of Japan will provide US$2.7 million worth of rice to Liberia to be sold at a minimum cost in an effort to alleviate hunger in the country.He added that the proceeds from the rice would be used to tackle the CDC-led Government’s Pro-poor developmental initiatives.Minister Kono said that the Japanese Embassy accredited to Liberia will work closely with the Liberian government to promote Japanese investments in the country.Kono informed Minister Findley that the Government of Japan looks forward to seeing President George Weah paying a state visit to Japan next year.In response, Minister Findley applauded the Government and people of Japan for the level of collaboration, and supports Liberia has received so far from that Asian country.“Your Ambassador to Liberia is working very hard with our technical team to deliver the message of the food aid to our people. We also want to thank the Government and people of Japan for the level of collaboration we have received thus far,” Minister Findley told his Japanese counterpart.Findley also recounted the numerous humanitarian assistance of Japan to Liberia during the Ebola crisis in 2014 and 2015 as well as the many infrastructural works that are being carried out in the country by the Japanese, specifically the Somalia Drive Phase two Road Project which, according to him, will soon commence following the signing of an agreement between Liberia and Japan.The Liberian envoy used the occasion to thank the Government of Japan, through Minister Kono for considering Liberia’s new proposals recently submitted to his Government, including the 282 Housing Units that are supposed to be built in Casstown, Grand Kru County.Minister Findley then reiterated Liberia’s call for Japanese bilateral assistance in the areas of Housing facilities, which he added, will improve living conditions for rural Liberians.He also pleaded with the Japanese to construct the Omega Market in Paynesville which, according to Findley, would provide decent environment where marketeers will sit and conduct their business activities.Minister Findley used the occasion to call on the Japanese specialized companies to invest in potential sectors of the country’s economy, including agriculture, fisheries, and mining.“With that partnership, it becomes what we refer to as development with growth geared towards improving the lives of our people and, at the same time, improving our economy and relations between Liberia and Japan,” he added.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more