Monrovia – Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, has said the first meeting of the African States Bordering the Atlantic is of definite interest to States sharing the South Atlantic Ocean, and Liberia is happy to belong to this vast maritime area which constitutes a “living space”.
“We believe with conviction that the time has come for the concretization of action plans since the inception of this noble concept, which is geared towards strengthening the Atlantic space of Africa in the most meaningful way,” Amb. Kemayah said.
He said Liberia’s participation in the establishment of the African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, dates back in 2009, when a meeting of the Atlantic States was held in Rabat, Morocco, which produced the Rabat Declaration.
“The Rabat Declaration continues to serve as the Foundational Stone for the establishment of the African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean,” he added.
The Liberian foreign minister said the Atlantic space remains endowed with enormous potential to transform itself into a strong economic giant house for all of its inhabitants and the world at large. Such potential, which includes maritime transport, air Services, port development and expansion, development and exploration of the offshore minerals to include oil and gas, as well as solid minerals amongst others could be meaningless in the absence of strong cooperation and collaboration among Member States.
“As we discuss today, let us not lose sight of incremental gains being made in the fight against terrorism and extremism in the Sahel region, and the rest of the world. We must also include the idea of strong security cooperation and collaboration, in making the Atlantic region ideal for development of its economy through sustained investments and international trade; as well as intra- African trade in the context of the African free trade agenda,” he said.
“We welcome the transformation of the African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean into a viable, strong and trusted regional body, which would not re-invent the wheels, but focus on complementation of Vision 2063 of the African union, and its sub-regional bodies; including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Community of Sahelo-Saharan States (CENSAD), West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and Southern African Development Community SADC).”
“This organization should have a Permanent Secretariat; established to continue the follow-up with participation and contributions of Member States.”
Amb. Kemayah said Liberia, therefore, proposes the reactivation of a functional Permanent Secretariat of the Conference of African Atlantic States for the actualization of the Rabat Declaration; and moreover; that said Permanent Secretariat should be based in Rabat, Morocco.
“Liberia stands ready to be an integral part of this proposed Secretariat; and to lend its support and expertise in this direction for a better, integrated and strong Atlantic region.”
In addition, he added, the initiative will greatly boost Liberia’s energy sector which will, in turn improve the economy, and aid in poverty reduction; hence, enhancing Liberia’s Vision. The vision is hinged on four cardinal points, which include the following: power to the People — Liberians empowered with skills and tools to gain control of their lives, the Economy and Jobs — Private Sector-Led growth and job creation through prudent management of the economy, inclusion process and more effective resource mobilization, sustaining the Peace — Promoting a cohesive society for sustainable development, and Governance and Transparency — Building State capability for inclusive and accountable governance and sustainable development.
This vision, he said, some of the major lines of which have been mentioned, converges well with the just African ambition to meet our common challenges mentioned in the concept note of this First Ministerial Meeting, including the challenge of demography, development of security, environmental infrastructure and that of the integration of Africa into the world economy, but above all, the promotion of intra-African trade. In these multifaceted projects, Liberia has its part to play, and our Country is ready to do so.
“Liberia is fully participating in the construction of world maritime trade through the huge fleet of ships operating under the jurisdiction of the Liberian flag since 1948. On this specific note, the revitalization of this initiative and the redefinition of its influence for the benefit of all-natural actors represent an opportunity for collaboration amongst us.”
“This meaningful cooperation would provide a platform for the exchange of experiences and expertise with the objective to add value to the strategic growth of the blue economy of our common region. A pragmatic collaboration for investments in the modernization of the port and maritime infrastructures of Liberia among others is laudable.”
“Liberia wishes to emphasize that this new, more operational, and more virtuous South-South Cooperation that we are seeking will be key to meeting our known challenges; as well as building greater autonomy and self-sufficiency to strengthen our resilience and offer a serious alternative to value chain breakdowns that can occur at any time in our history,” he said.