Monrovia — The newly appointed British Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Neil Bradley has presented his letters of credence to President George Weah, committing the British Government’s support to Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda.
He recalled that Liberia and Great Britain have had lasting friendship since 1848 when the UK was the first country to recognize Liberia as an independent sovereign state.
“Today, the UK is proud to support the Government of Liberia’s pro-poor agenda. We commend your efforts to deliver inclusive development, helping to build a more stable, equitable and prosperous society,” he said.
Below is the full speech of Amb. Bradley:
Your Excellency Mr President,
I am delighted to have been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia, building on the lasting friendship between our two countries dating back to 1848 when the UK was the first country to recognise Liberia as an independent sovereign state.
Today, the UK is proud to support the Government of Liberia’s pro-poor agenda. We commend your efforts to deliver inclusive development, helping to build a more stable, equitable and prosperous society.
Each year we provide a multi-million-dollar contribution to development projects in Liberia. We do so through a mix of bilateral and centrally managed programmes and through financial contributions to our international partners in Liberia, including the UN, World Bank, Global Fund, GAVI, and the World Health Organisation. In this way, we support your top development priorities.
We are pleased to support the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to promote social cohesion, through our contribution to the Liberia Social Safety Net Programme, which provides cash transfers for the most vulnerable households. Through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund, we are partnering with Government to build a better road network to increase access to basic services and open-up markets to improve livelihoods. Our support for improved health and education outcomes includes funding the Global Partnership for Education, the Power of Nutrition programme, and the ASCEND programme on neglected tropical diseases. And we are working closely with Government to enable a more diversified economy, through sustainable forestry management and growth of the agricultural sector.
The private sector also has a crucial role to play in delivering the pro-poor agenda. Development co-operation between governments, donors, international organisations and civil society alone is not enough. By investing in Liberia, business can provide the sustainable jobs and skills development that ordinary Liberians need to live with dignity. I will do everything I can to encourage and facilitate UK companies to invest and do business here. But to motivate inward investment, it will be important that Liberia tackles corruption and creates an attractive business environment, with a well regulated governance framework that is transparent and easy for businesses to navigate.
Respect for human rights underpins all that we do. Tackling violence against women and girls, in particular, is essential to defending human rights and reducing poverty. It is vital if we are to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and build fair, prosperous and safe societies. Violence affects women and girls everywhere, at home in the UK and overseas. It has significant and lasting impacts. It limits the potential of individuals, families, communities and economies. It is preventable. Attitudes and behaviours can, do and must change so that violence against women and girls is no longer accepted as normal. We commend Government and civil
society organisations for their efforts to defeat the scourge of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Liberia.
I arrive at a challenging time. Across the world we are seeing the devastating impact of an invisible killer, COVID-19. As Liberia knows from its experience of bringing the Ebola outbreak under control, international cooperation is vital. We must not let COVID-19 reverse Liberia’s hard won development gains.
The UK is at the forefront of the global pandemic response. We have pledged up to $950 million of UK Aid to tackle the pandemic globally. This includes $95 million for the World Health Organisation, $32 million for UNICEF and $19 million for the World Food Programme. To find a vaccine, the UK has committed up to $295 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the biggest donation by a country. We have pledged $2 billion to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to vaccinate children against deadly infectious diseases, strengthen health systems and save lives, including in Liberia. Our $25 million contribution to the African Union’s COVID-19 Response Fund makes the UK the largest national donor. UK funds will support all 55 African Union member state countries, including Liberia. Our increased support to international partners such as the IMF and World Bank is providing countries including Liberia with the finance needed to develop their response to this unprecedented challenge.
The UK commends the Liberian Ministry of Health’s focus on ensuring that, notwithstanding the pandemic, quality basic services are provided to all. UK programmes are supporting public health messaging and provision of social protection to those most affected in Liberia. By working together, we can tackle the spread of COVID-19, mitigate its impacts, support the poorest and most vulnerable and help all of us to bounce back and prosper.
As we look to build back better, we must seize the opportunities for green economic growth and clean energy, while protecting our natural habitat. Liberia can be proud of its natural heritage, with some of the largest surviving tropical rainforests in West Africa, rich in biodiversity. We are pleased to support Liberia in protecting these valuable resources and building sustainable livelihoods for local communities. I look forward to strengthening our cooperation on these important issues in the run up to next year’s UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Change Conference and beyond.
Our friendship began over 170 years ago. The bilateral ties between us remain as strong as ever. We are good friends and partners on the international stage, consistently supporting each other on issues of shared concern in international fora.
I very much look forward to working with your Government, international partners, civil society and the private sector to help Liberia fulfil its potential for a peaceful and prosperous future.
Your Excellency Mr President, I thank you.