Joint Statement from Third U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue

(From left to right) Liberian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marjon Kamara , U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Christine Elder

January 10, 2017

The U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue took place on January 10, 2017 in Washington, DC to build on the special historical and bilateral ties between the two countries and to convene four working groups focused on:  Overcoming Challenges to Liberia’s Economy, Expanding Agriculture Production and Trade; Enhancing Liberia’s Investment and Infrastructure Climate; and Supporting Post Ebola Recovery and Health System Strengthening Efforts.

The official delegations were led by the U.S. Department of State’s Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marjon V. Kamara, who affirmed their shared commitment to deepening bilateral cooperation on a range of issues.

The first working group session, “Overcoming Challenges to Liberia’s Economy,” was chaired by Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning Boima Kamara and the U.S. Department of State’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Patricia Haslach.  The United States and Liberia recognized that the Liberian economy has faced substantial challenges from the dual shocks of Ebola and declining commodity prices.  They reviewed and discussed potential reforms aimed at strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals and diversifying the Liberian economy to build resilience, promote sustainable growth, and deepen the financial system.

The second working group session, “Agriculture and Food Security,” was co-chaired by Liberia’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Moses Zinnah, Liberia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Alex Addy, USAID Liberia Mission Director, Anthony Chan and U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Food Security Senior Advisor, Caitlin Welsh.  Recognizing the important role the agricultural sector must play in Liberia’s food security and economic development, the United States and Liberia committed to continued collaboration in support of Liberia’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda, through the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity and other programs, with the ultimate goal of improving food security among all Liberians.  Both governments intend to increase efforts to encourage private companies to invest responsibly in Liberia’s agriculture sector and to increase agricultural trade.

The third working group session, “Post-Ebola Recovery and Health System Strengthening Efforts,” was co-chaired by Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Health Tolbert Nyenswah and the U.S. Department of State’s Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Caryn R. McClelland.  Acknowledging the adverse impacts of the Ebola epidemic on the Liberian economy and society, the working group reviewed ongoing initiatives and programs aimed at achieving improvements in the health sector to include ending preventable child and maternal deaths, creating an AIDS-free generation, and strengthening global health security to ensure rapid response and resilience to disease outbreaks.  The United States and Liberia committed to continue close collaboration on these initiatives.

On the margins of these core sessions, “Consular-related issues” became a parallel bilateral discussion, co-chaired by Liberia’s Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Deweh Gray, and on the U.S. side, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs David Reimer and Consular Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Edward Ramotowski.  Acknowledging the tremendous impact of these issues, both sides re-engaged, with the view of finding ways of re-introducing pre-crisis Consular facilities as well as the strengthening of reciprocal relationships.

The final working group session, “Enhancing Liberia’s Investment and Infrastructure Climate,” was co-chaired by Liberia’s Minister of Public Works, Gyude Moore, Liberia’s National Investment Commission’s Executive Director, George G. Wisner, II, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Acting Vice President for the Department of Compact Operations, Kyeh Kim, and the U.S. Department of State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Finance and Development, Lisa Kubiske.  The United States and Liberia reviewed a number of successful collaborations in the transportation, water supply, energy, and information and communications technology sectors.  Representatives of both countries recognized the critical importance of a confidence building regulatory environment in attracting investors and private capital particularly in infrastructure sectors.  Recognizing the importance of good regulation, fairly and consistently administered, in attracting private sector investment, the United States and Liberia also committed to continued collaboration in setting up the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission to regulate the electricity sector.  The United States and Liberia further recognized the importance of sound regulation in Liberia’s petroleum sector to attract responsible private investment.

Both governments plan to convene the fourth session of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue in Monrovia, Liberia, and intend to follow-up on the issues discussed in the working groups during the intervening months.

Signed at Washington on January 10, 2017.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
Department of State
United States of America

Marjon V. Kamara, Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Liberia