The United States Embassy in Liberia commemorated the country’s Independence Day with a series of celebrations and statements from key stakeholders, including President Weah and US Ambassador McCarthy. The discussions centered around Liberia’s untapped economic potential and the promise of a new era for the country, leveraging its abundant natural resources and existing infrastructure for mineral development.
During the event, President Weah expressed his gratitude to the United States for its unwavering support to Liberia. Highlighting the historical bond between the two nations, he remarked, “The United States declared a special interest in Liberia maintaining its sovereignty and has worked diligently since our humble beginnings as Africa’s first Republic to ensure that we have remained an independent country throughout our existence. We are grateful for this stand and equally proud of our relationship.”
President Weah further emphasized the shared values and common positions on political ideology, liberal democracy, open capitalist economic systems, human rights, and citizen rights between Liberia and the United States. He pledged to defend these values vigorously, stating, “Together, we will continue to be aggressive for what is right for Liberia, in order to save Liberia from those who want to be aggressive for what is wrong for Liberia.”
The discussions also shed light on Liberia’s economic prospects and the need for the government to take ownership of its natural resources and fully capitalize on its existing infrastructure. US Ambassador McCarthy expressed optimism about the future of Liberia’s economy, stating, “I see the promise of a new Liberia.”
Ambassador McCarthy highlighted the potential of an independently operated transport rail system from Yekepa to Buchanan, enabling farmers to access affordable consumer goods and transport their produce from the interior to the coast year-round. He further emphasized that such a rail system would increase financial contributions to the central coffers through iron ore transport and export duties, while providing affordable transportation options for passengers between the coast and the interior throughout the year.
With the Government of Liberia in the middle of negotiating amendments to Arcelor Mittal Liberia agreement it is important that any new agreements reflect President Weah’s Executive Order 112, mandating a multi-user, open access rail and port model that is operated independently for the benefit of community, industry and mining sectors.
“CEO of HPX and Ivanhoe Liberia, Bronwyn Barnes, highlighted the importance of Executive Order 112, stating, “The President of Liberia has set a clear responsibility to ensure that existing rail and port infrastructure, owned by the People of Liberia, is operated on a multi-user, open access system that encourages further development of this essential system for mining, agricultural and manufacturing purposes. HPX remains committed to supporting the Government of Liberia in opening up port and rail access to multiple users, and as a US Company, are pleased to see that this key government policy decision has received such strong support from the US Government. Any party seeking to implement an agreement that gives preferential access on a discriminatory basis to the rail or the port should be aware of this domestic and international desire for supporting the Government of Liberia in opening up this valuable infrastructure system for use by multiple parties. We are delighted that the Government plans to implement an independent operator to coordinate the operation and further development of this essential transport system.”