Executive Mansion, Monrovia
Liberia and Namibia have reached an agreement aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. The framework Agreement on Economic, Technical, Scientific, Cultural and Tourism Cooperation seeks mutual benefits in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, gender equality and child welfare. The Agreement also covers areas of cooperation in vocational training, industry, mining and energy, education, culture and tourism, among others.
An Executive Mansion dispatch from Windhoek says modalities of the Agreement will involve the exchange of data and technical information, experts, specialists and consultants.
A Joint Commission is to be established to ensure the implementation of the Agreement.
The Agreement was signed on behalf of the Liberian Government by Information Minister, Dr. Laurence Konmla Bropleh, while the Foreign Minister of Namibia, Dr. Marco Hausiku, signed on behalf of his government.
The signing followed discussions between President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Meanwhile, the leader of Namibia’s liberation struggle and founding President and Father of the Nation, Dr. Sam Nujoma, has paid a courtesy call on President Johnson Sirleaf. Dr. Nujoma, reflecting on the days of the struggle against colonialism, praised Liberia’s leading role towards Nambia’s independence.
He recalled that Liberia along with Ethiopia, as members of the League of Nations, brought litigation against apartheid South Africa, which was then administering Namibia, seeking an end of the illegal occupation of Namibia. “We remember your country’s courage and will forever remain grateful to you,” the former liberation fighter said.
Additionally, Dr. Nujoma acknowledged the presence of Former Foreign Minister, T. Ernest Eastman, who is a part of President Johnson Sirleaf’s delegation, and praised him for his particular role in facilitating the support given to him and others during the days of Namibia’s struggle for independence by the Liberian Government.
President Johnson Sirleaf, for her part, lauded Dr. Nujoma for his commitment to the struggle and the liberation of his country from colonial rule. The President recalled the role Namibia played in maintaining peace and stability in Liberia when the Southern African country sent in peacekeepers. Dr. Nujoma is part of a delegation of eminent African leaders expected to attend this year’s Independence Anniversary in Liberia on July 26th.
The longstanding historical ties between Liberia and Namibia were again highlighted during a State Dinner Sunday night, hosted by President and Mrs. Pohamba in honor of the Liberian President and delegation.
In continuation of her visit, President Johnson Sirleaf on Monday toured a diamond cutting and polishing factory in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital. Liberia, which also mines diamonds, is in discussions with Namibia on ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the diamond sector.
President Johnson Sirleaf also toured a primary school, reminding students of their responsibilities toward the future growth and development of their country. The students, interacting with the Liberian leader, thanked her for the visit and spoke of their admiration for her.
President Johnson Sirleaf arrived in Windhoek Sunday afternoon at the start of a two-day state visit. Her Namibian counterpart, His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba, received the President and delegation upon arrival officials of government and members of civil society groups, as well as traditional dancers and cultural groups.
The President’s visit to Namibia follows a visit to Johannesburg at the invitation of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, where she delivered the 6th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture, held in Kliptown, Soweto last Saturday. President Johnson Sirleaf concludes her visit here Tuesday, when she addresses a Joint Session of Parliament before departing for home.
Meanwhile, president Sirleaf, last Saturday delivered what many are describing in South Africa and Liberia as one of her most inspiring speeches when she addressed the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Series in Johannesburg.
The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Series is the flagship event of the Dialogue Programme. It forms part of the annual celebrations of President Mandela’s birthday. Its purpose is to honor President Mandela and provide a platform for a leader of international standing an opportunity to present their views on a critical issue impacting society at large.
The inaugural Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture was held on July 19, 2003, and was delivered by President Bill Clinton
Interrupted frequently with applause by the capacity audience, the Liberian leader gave an optimistic assessment of an emerging Africa, which, she said, is headed towards irreversible transformation.
Recalling the continent’s steady move toward transformation, President Johnson Sirleaf observed that although the process has been a long and torturous road toward African rebirth, “a new Africa is unfolding before our very eyes that the African Renaissance is now at hand and within reach.” The process, the President said, is embedded in honest and industrious minds of the young, professionals, activists, and believers in Africa. She acknowledged that difficulties will be encountered in the process, but that Africa has reached a threshold and there is no turning back.
She was quick, however, to outline three major changes in the continent’s polity that will give rise to this transformation. Africa, she said, requires stronger economic management, a resolution of the debt crisis, and a changing relationship with the continent’s international partners as well as the shift to democratic and accountable governance.
The Liberian President paid tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who paved the way for a new generation of leaders and the emergence of democratization in Africa. Through free and fair elections or other processes, she asserted, authority is transferred peacefully from one civilian government to another, where issues and hope, not fear for the future, define the national debate and where equality of women is a right and women’s agency supported and utilized.
“We admire you, President Mandela, for returning justice and democracy to your country, South Africa, and in doing so, for becoming an inspiration for Africans and for peoples the world over. You have taught us that if one believes in compassion for humanity we can all make a difference,” the Liberian leader said of President Mandela who turns 90 later this week.