By Charles B. Yates
As a sign of commitment to strengthening ties with Liberia, the United Kingdom has reopened its Embassy in Liberia after 22 years of absence.reopened its Embassy in Liberia after 22 years of absence.Speaking at the historical diplomatic ceremony yesterday in Monrovia, the United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds MP, said he was in the country first and foremost, to put an end to an absence of 22 years and officially reopen the British Embassy.
He said as developed economies the world over continue to grapple with the consequences of global financial crisis –some even recording negative GDP growth- the story across Africa is very different. “Even as economic expansion slows across the emerging markets, many African countries are still predicting growth of between 5 and 10% this year. Liberia is no exception; its economic growth is forecast at a healthy 7.4% for this year,” the UK Minister for Africa stated.
He pointed out that British companies are already seeing success in Liberia and mentioned that the famous Motherwell Bridge Ltd, a British company has contract with the Liberian Petroleum Company to build 14 storage tanks by July 2015.
He stated further that the UK Government is doing all it can to promote Liberia as a country of choice for investment. “The opening of the new British Embassy is just one part of this. We are matching British and Liberian SMEs in supply chains-focusing on key sectors of mining, infrastructure, agriculture and oil and gas,” Minister Simmonds intimated.
In response, Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Ngafuan; on behalf of the government of Liberia lauded the UK Government for recognizing Liberia as a safe state. He said it is based on the effort the Liberian leader has made to restore Liberia’s image that is attracting international attention.
He recalled that it was the British Government that first recognized Liberia as a freed and independent state in Africa before other countries. He also mentioned President Joseph J. Robert as the first President to visit Great Britain.
Minister Ngafuan said the reopening of the British Embassy and the British Airways shows that the UK has much interest in Liberia international relationship. Minister Ngafuan closed by saying that Liberia and the UK have both outstanding commercial and political relationship.