The United States and Liberia took steps Tuesday to strengthen their long relationship.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue Agreement in Washington.
Clinton said the agreement establishes working groups in three key areas: agriculture, food security, and human development with an emphasis on creating more economic opportunity for the Liberian people.
“Helping Liberia’s farmers use their land more effectively and getting their crops to markets more efficiently will be critical to improving the health and prosperity of people throughout Liberia. This working group will review progress under the Feed the Future Initiative, look for new opportunities to attract private investment in the agriculture sector, and recommend policies to promote food security and better nutrition,” Clinton said.
She also said the agreement would focus on the development of Liberia’s energy and power infrastructure.
“We know that access to affordable, reliable energy is essential to creating jobs and sparking growth that helps to build a strong economy. So, we will take stock of outstanding needs for the generation, transmission, and distribution of energy, promote a regulatory environment that’s friendly to new investments in energy,” she said.
Clinton thanked Sirleaf for what she called the progress that Liberia has made under her leadership. She pledged continued US support and partnership.
Sirleaf said she has always viewed Liberia’s progress through its special relationship with the United States.
“The launching of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue is a historic achievement, one that will cement the strategic cooperation between our two countries for generations to come regardless of the occupants of the White House or the Executive Mansion,” Sirleaf said.
She said one of Liberia’s proudest moments under the Obama administration was when Liberia became eligible for compact status by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The Liberian leader congratulated President Obama on his coming inauguration for a second term, and she Clinton as a true friend who has supported Liberia’s progress.
“Madam Secretary, you have supported our country’s progress, championed our political process, and pushed to settle Liberia’s external debt," she said. "As we bid you farewell, I remain convinced that, in this era of economic challenge, history will show that your support and the investment of the US government and the American people in Liberia will return significant dividends.”
Sirleaf promised that Liberia will continue to be a post-conflict success story by promoting reconciliation and building stronger democratic institutions, while encouraging broad-based economic development.