(MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Thursday, November 24, 2016) Canadian Prime Minister, the right Hon. Justin Trudeau, has acknowledged that Liberia and all of Africa can be proud of the strive that has been made in this country has made under leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – although recognizing the real challenges dogged by – a very difficult civil war – the global economic downturn, low commodity prices and Ebola.
He has pledged his country’s commitment to support the 2017 presidential and legislative elections scheduled to take place in Liberia as well as buttress the global acceleration instruments for women, peace and security and humanitarian action, which works to expand the role women already play in building and leading peace processes.
According to anExecutive Mansion release, the Right Honorable Trudeau spoke at a joint press stakeout with President Ellen Johnson in the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, November 24, following a bilateral meeting. Prime Minister Trudeau is on a two-day official visit to Liberia. Canada’s support to the 2017 presidential and legislative elections will be channeled through the United Nations Development Programme’s Joint Trust Fund (JTF).
He emphasized the need to diversify and invest in agriculture given Liberia’s tremendous natural resources and the potential that abound. He said education and training opportunities for young people remain critical as it will translate into producing agriculture entrepreneurs who would step up to a higher level. He opined that much that has been achieved and there is still a lot to be achieve. He assured that Canada will continue to support and partner with Liberia in specific programs. While alluding to challenges ahead, he averred that we will be able to tackle in the coming years and decades. He praised the leadership of President Sirleaf in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Prime Minister Trudeau noted Canada’s determination to boost its support for UN Women’s efforts to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women in the region. He said he was especially interested in ways that more men and boys can be motivated to speak out, support the women, families and their communities and bring an end to the violence that is a daily reality for far too many women stressed.
He however announced US$10 million investment in West Africa, which includes Liberia, which goes towards supporting women; US$1.5 million directly to the global acceleration instruments for women, peace and security and humanitarian action; US$1 million to the UNDP Joint Trust Fund to support 2017 elections in Liberia. The Canadian Prime Minister said his government will continue to be a substantive partner to development in Liberia and looks forward to its continued engagement in the future.
He emphasized that both countries have a strong relationship; one made stronger by their shared belief for when women and girls are full participants in the socio-economic and political efforts of their two countries, they will all succeed. He reiterated that the role that women played in bringing an end to the civil war and helping Liberia rebuild is an inspiration to the rest of the world.
He reiterated his profound gratitude to President Sirleaf and to the Liberian people for the hospitality accorded him during his stay here, not only for reminding him why he’s so proud to call himself a feminist but also for showing him what’s possible when good people who care about each other come together to make a real difference in their communities and countries.
Earlier, President Sirleaf thanked Prime Minister Trudeau for the visit and recounted Liberia – Canada relations which span over many decades. She noted that his visit here seeks to rekindle that relationship. She highlighted Canada’s support to Liberia through international and multilateral agencies, specifically emphasizing Canada’s support to Liberia during the Ebola epidemic.
President Sirleaf said both leaders shared ideas on where this partnership can grow and looked forward to continuing to be engaged in supporting the things that they stand for and ensuring that those shared values can be promoted together in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in which both countries played a part. She also hoped that this visit will lead to strengthening relations between both countries.
Prime Minister Trudeau visited to the Slipway Elementary School supported by Canadian partners, Right To Play Project, emphasizing that education is something that is close to his heart both as a father and former teacher.
Meanwhile joined by President Sirleaf, Prime Minister Trudeau later participated in a High-Level Panel on Women Leadership at the Monrovia City Hall. They were joined by panelists Madam Zinab Hawa Bangura, Under Secretary-General, and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Madam Mahawa Kaba Wheeler, Director for Women, Gender & Development, African Union, Madam Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under Secretary- General & Executive Director, UN Women, Captain Hawa Kamara, AFL, and Augustine Tamba, President of FLY.
The Prime Minister departs Liberia on Friday, November 25, for Antananarivo, Madagascar to take part in the XVI Summit of La Francophonie on November 26-27, 2016.