A high-level German delegation has met in audience with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her temporary office at the Foreign Ministry.
The delegation, headed by the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Muller, included the Federal Minister of Health, Mr.
Hermann Groehe, and two members of the German Parliament, Mr. Helmut Heiderich and Mrs. Dagmar Woehrl.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the high-level German delegation who met with the Liberian leader on Friday, April 10, is in Liberia to assess the impact of contributions made by Germany during the Ebola crisis as well as hold discussions on support for Liberia’s post-Ebola National Recovery Plan.
In receiving the German delegation, President Sirleaf indicated that Germany has and continues to have strong historical relations with Liberia that is second to the United States of America.
She recalls that Germany’s strong private sector development role of the past reflected through the operations of companies such as the Bong Mining Company and others in the forestry sector.
“Germany was the first European country to reopen its diplomatic mission in Liberia at the start of my administration, followed with a visit by Chancellor Angela Meckel in 2007,” she told the delegation; adding, “Your country was supportive and instrumental in having Liberia achieve debt waiver through the HIPIC process which saw over US$4.9 billion external debts waived and a better fiscal space created.”
The Liberian leader acknowledged the strong support of Germany’s leading provider of international cooperation services, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in Liberia’s transport sector and expressed the hope that such partnership and support will continue as the transport sector stills desire more attention and support.
She pointed out that during the peak of the Ebola epidemic, when Liberia appealed to the world for assistance, Germany was among the positive responders and constructed a high standard Ebola Treatment Unit that helped save the lives of many infected with the virus. “Your support was also key to the European Union (EU) because you were among the highest donors to the EU Ebola response effort.
The Liberian leader also used the occasion to brief the delegation about the country’s plans for national recover after Ebola as well as the upcoming “Spring Meeting” of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C., U.S.A.
She told the visitors that both Liberia’s specific national recovery plan and the regional recovery plan will be presented and discussed with international partners as the Ebola crisis gradually comes to an end. “In our plan, healthcare remains critical, but attention will also be given considerably to the economy, education, and infrastructure with roads, ports and energy as major concerns,” President Sirleaf pointed out.
Also speaking, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Mueller, said his delegation was in Liberia to assess the impact of Germany’s assistance to Liberia’s fight and see what is required as the country makes progress in finally eradicating the virus.
He pointed out that Chancellor Meckel is looking forward to President Sirleaf’s participation in the upcoming G-8 Summit and is keen on supporting the education of woman and girls in Liberia to ensure their economic empowerment and development.
Dr. Mueller assured President Sirleaf that Germany will give Liberia all the assistance needed for the country’s recovery with particular interest in the health and education sectors.
For his part, the Federal Minister of Health, Mr. Hermann Groehe, said Germany was interested in deepening the long standing relations between Liberia and Germany. He pointed out that the level of progress that has been made in Liberia with regards to containing the further spread of the Ebola virus disease is simply dramatic and magical, indicating that his country is pleased with the new countdown that has started after successfully dealing with the lone case that emerged, breaking the initial countdown.
He assured the Liberian President that more will be done by Germany in the spirit of cooperation and solidarity.