New Yourpea Youth Launch Association

Group photo following the program

Many citizens from New Yourpea Town in Kparblee Administration District, Nimba County, residing in Montserrado County and other parts of Liberia defied the heavy down pour of rain on Saturday, June 24, 2017, to grace the official launch of their youth organization and fund-raising program.

The launching of the organization, dubbed and styled: New Yourpea Youth Association (NEYOYA), took place in the Peace Island Community, Congo Town.

According to organizers, the idea of forming the association came 2015 having observed and seen the need to unite young people from New Yourpea for empowerment as well as to contribute to the development of their town. Titus Baryou, Acting Secretary of the Association, said the group is also established to foster peace and unity among young people of New Yourpea.

Addressing the occasion, the Editor for News & Editorial Services at the In Profile Daily Newspaper, Fredrick P. W. Gaye, challenged officials and members of the association to work with their mother organization, New Yourpea Development Association (NEYODA).

Journalist Gaye, who is also a citizen of New Yourpea, said while every human is a political being, political activities should not supersede the aims and objectives of the group.

He cautioned them not to involve in or to be used in violence during the pending elections. The Liberian journalist also urged the young people to take serious their education and other activities that will brighten their future.

Speaking on the theme: “Can this hatching bird be the first to fly,” he expressed the hope that the the New Yourpea Youth Association (NEYOYA) can be second to none in Kparblee District and Liberia at large if members and other citizens are willing to support the group.

Gaye said he was encouraged by the short time it took for few young people to organize such a program after deciding the official launch of the Association. “If few young people can take three months to launch such an organization, I believe NEYOYA can be second to none in our district if we support the Association with our whole heart,” he stressed.

The New Yourpea young people also used the occasion to raise fund for the upkeep and other activities of the program.

Also attending the occasion were officials and members of New Yourpea Development Association (NEYODAY), Nimba County District #6 representative aspirant and also a citizen of New Yourpea, Attorney Preston N. G. Karkerzeah, representatives of Aspirant Michael Wiles, and other prominent residents of Kparblee District, who made their contributions and pledges.

In his remark, Atty. Karkerzeah praised the young people for establishing such a youth organization that will foster unity among them. Kakerzeah declared himself as a full member of the group and pledged his unflinching support.

The youthful lawyer and representative aspirant also told the young people to fight for generational change, wherein the issues of young people’s empowerment will be prioritized at national level.

Karkerzeah recently won the Nimba County District #6 primary as representative aspirant on the ruling Unity Party’s ticket.

Acting leadership of the Association includes: Alexander G. Baryou, Chairman; Deekay Deah, Co-Chairman; Titus M. Baryou, Secretary; Angeles Kerslah, Financial Secretary and Samuel Youdee, Treasurer.

ORANGE Liberia Launches 4G LTE Outside Monrovia

The management of Orange Liberia says it has officially launched Liberia’s first 4G LTE network outside of Monrovia.  The company celebrated the launch of the LTE network in Kakata, Margibi County, over the weekend at a colorful program held in the City Hall.

Making the keynote address at the launching program, Orange’s Director for Government & Legal Affairs, Mr. William F. Saamoi Jr. told the audience that Orange Liberia was rolling out the high speed internet network in Kakata as part of a larger vision of Mr. Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange Group and Chairman & CEO of Orange MEA (Middle East and Africa). .   Said Mr. Saamoi: “During his speech at the launching, Mr. Mettling promised that Orange would begin to invest heavily to ensure that the LTE high speed network would be deployed in all major cities outside of Monrovia.  True to that promise, we are here today to officially launch the first ever 4G LTE network outside of Monrovia.”

Mr. Saamoi promised that the launch of 4G LTE network in Kakata would be followed by successive launches of new 4G LTE networks in cities across the country.   He stressed that Orange was investing in moving the technology, not only because of the company’s view that ‘Monrovia is not Liberia,’ but also because of the recognition of how the high-speed network will transform the way  people live and do business.   “Our dream is that the people of Kakata will now be able to connect with the world, in real time,  for business, agriculture, e-commerce, education, health and more without having to leave the comfort of their homes,” Mr. Saamoi said.

In response, officials of Margibi County praised Orange for its efforts.  Margibi County Superintendent John Buway recognized Orange’s many contributions to the city over time. He recalled support for the C.H. Rennie Hospital during the Ebola crisis as well as Orange’s ongoing support to the County’s community radio stations.   “Orange has always been there for us and this is another example of Orange going the extra mile for the Liberian people,” the Superintendent said.

Both the Mayor of the City of Kakata, Mr. Eddie Murphy and Margibi’s District #3 Representative, Stephen S. Kafi, hailed the launch of 4G LTE in Kakata City.  Mayor Murphy said: “We appreciate the effort and development. Your presence here today demonstrates that you are truly a company for the Liberian people. We know that this network will certainly make a difference for the people of Kakata.”

Rep. Kafi encouraged students in Kakata to take advantage of the 4G LTE service to better their education by using the internet as a library and research tool to enhance their education.

As promised, Orange has vowed to roll out additional 4G LTE sites across the country in coming weeks and months.

Chinese FM reiterates China’s commitment to supporting Africa’s poverty reduction

ADDIS ABABA, June 21 (Xinhua) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reiterated China’s commitment to strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa in order to assist the continent to achieve independent and sustainable development, and eliminate poverty at an early date.

The Foreign Minister made the remarks on Wednesday at the opening of the China-Africa high-level dialogue and think tank forum on poverty reduction and common development, at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

Stating that almost 400 million people still live under poverty line in Africa and that more than 40 million Chinese remain to be lifted out of poverty, Wang underlined the need for China and Africa to join hands in fighting poverty and achieving common development.

Wang said under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and by sticking to the reform and opening-up policy, China has managed to lift more than 700 million people out of poverty over the past 40 years. By doing this, China has contributed 70 percent to the UN’s millennium development goal (MDG) on poverty reduction, and created a miracle in the world’s development history.

According to Wang, with these achievements, China is willing to share experiences with Africa on poverty reduction and development.

He said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had announced ten major cooperation plans during the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Johannesburg, one of which is poverty reduction and development.

Wang said the FOCAC Johannesburg summit outcomes as well as the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China have provided “historic opportunities” for China-Africa cooperation.

“We stand ready to seize the opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative, synergize the ten cooperation plans with the Agenda 2063 and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, to support African countries in achieving independent and sustainable development and eliminating poverty at an early date,” Wang said.

Speaking on the occasion, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, said that China and Africa have been enjoying varied and multifaceted cooperation, which has been demonstrated in the development of Africa’s infrastructure, energy, and human capacity building, among others.

The Chairperson said that China’s success story in reducing poverty reduction substantially is a good lesson that Africa is keen to learn from.

He also underlined the need to explore other areas and further diversify the cooperation between the two sides.

“China, Africa Can Fight Poverty Together” -Chinese Foreign Minister

By Fredrick P. W. Gaye in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and AU Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat at the forum

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and AU Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat at the forum

 

A two-day Africa-China High-Level Dialogue and Think Tank Forum has ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the Chinese Government reaffirming its commitment to fighting poverty together with Africa.

Held at the African Union (AU) Headquarters, the forum focused particularly on the way poverty has been dealt with in China and in Africa in the past two decades. It drew lessons from the two decades of poverty alleviation experience of government and civil society organizations. Particular focus was given to rural poverty and to the type of policies and programs that have made the most impact. Selected case studies from Africa were presented to allow scholars, policy makers, and civil society organizations, to identify main features of policy directions in successfully alleviating poverty.

Making an opening statement, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China and African nations can work together to eradicate poverty from the world.

He said that while Africa needs to lift 400 million out of poverty, China still has over 40 million living below the poverty line.

“This is the responsibility we should shoulder today for our future generations. This is also the common goal that Chinese and African people are working for,” Wang said.

A new book by President Xi Jinping has been central to the debate at the Africa-China High-Level Dialogue and Think Tank Forum. The theme of the forum, is Fighting Against Poverty for Common Prosperity.

The book, Up and Out of Poverty, published in English at the end of 2016, is a collection of speeches and articles by the president when he was Party chief of Ningde prefecture of Fujian province almost 30 years ago.

When Xi went to the province in 1988 at the age of 35, the prefecture had a GDP per capita of $198. Last year it was $8,000.

“The thoughts and ideas of the book are important, such as the emphasis on clean government and the focus on the economy. They are as important today for China to eradicate poverty but also for developing economies,” Wang said in his keynote speech. “The book has been warmly welcomed in many, many countries, I believe it can also shed light on useful experience for our African friends.”

Wang also emphasized that the Chinese government remains committed to eliminating all poverty in China by 2020. This, he said, was a key part of its central goal to become a “moderately well-off society” by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in 2021. “Eradication of poverty is one of the important preconditions for this.”

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union, told the forum that China and Africa were united in their determination to eliminate poverty.“It is a two-way relationship and we can learn considerably with humility from one another,” he said.

The forum, co-chaired by the AU Leadership Academy and the Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University, was also addressed by Huang Youyi, who was responsible for the translation of Xi’s book.

The vice-president of the Translators Association of China said the book’s message is that poverty can be eradicated only by people not looking “to others for the answers” to their problems but to look to themselves to find solutions.

He added that Xi’s success in Ningde was about each village in the prefecture specializing in what it did best. Each village was to focus on a specialized product, whether it was grapes, tea, mushrooms or aquatic products,” Huang said, citing Xi’s book “Since the local industry was rather weak, he proposed they must develop the processing industry by using local resources.”

Arkebe Oqubay, inter-ministerial coordinator for Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, said the book had valuable lessons for countries like Ethiopia, which is trying to establish itself as a major manufacturing center.

President Sirleaf Dedicates LACE-implemented Projects

Pres. Sirleaf cutting ribbon to the building 

The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), has been featuring prominently in projects dedication and inspection by the Liberian Leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as she crisscrosses the Country district-by-district, appreciating citizens for supporting her two terms as President.

 

President Sirleaf has nicknamed her final tour of the Country as the ‘Last Mile’. Accompanying the President on these tours are development arms of the government in close consultation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

 

The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment, which is implementing some basic infrastructural development projects of the Government, mainly the Legislative Support Project (LSP), has been in the limelight of the President’s tour.

 

In all 73 electoral Districts of the Country, LACE is implementing GOL Legislative Support Projects being facilitated by Senators and Representatives in the 53rd Legislature who play some key roles in project needs identification in consultation with their constituents.

 

On the latest leg of her ‘Last Mile’ appreciation tour of Lofa, Rivercess and Grand Bassa Counties, President Sirleaf dedicated and inspected a number of LACE-implemented projects. In Lofa, President Sirleaf cut ribbon to and dedicated the Sorlumba Market Building, Vezala Police Station and inspected ongoing construction works on the Dormitory to the Lofa County Community College.

 

According to structural design, each of the Dorms has a capacity to accommodate 32 students desirous of attaining higher education at the LCCC from the seven districts of Lofa County.

 

Finishing works are being carried out on the Foya Health Center, and Foya Youth Center projects under LACE’s implementation.

 

In Rivercess, LACE has completed the construction of a modern Women Center in Cestos. Also in the Capital of the County, the Agency has commenced construction work on a modern High School, and in Yarkpah Town a Youth Center project has met full completion.

 

In Grand Bassa, President Sirleaf cut ribbon to Gio Town Market fitted with Latrine and Water facilities as well as storage for goods, and later moved over to Compound #2 Youth Center where she also cut the ribbon to open the facility to public usage.

 

En route to Compound #2 where she held a Town Hall meeting with citizens before dedicating the Youth Center, the President cut ribbon to Buchanan City’s first modern Car Wash, and a Sports Academy, another historic infrastructure in the existence of Grand Bassa County.

 

All of these projects outlined are being implemented by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) through Government’s budgetary allocation. Using updated PPCC regulations, the Agency vets accredited construction companies to sub-implement the Legislative Support Project.

 

The projects range from Markets to other public buildings including Magisterial Courts, Clinics, Schools, Commissioner’s Compounds, Presidential Palace, Nurses Quarters, Conference Halls, Youth Centers, Dormitories and Auditoriums.

 

Also included is the construction of Roads, Bridges, Culverts, WASH compact, Fencing of Football Fields and capacitating existing structures with needed equipment for functional operation.

 

The Legislative Support Project is allowing for smoother coordination and collaboration between the Legislative branch of government and the Executive, mainly the Office of the President in achieving the shared single goal of community empowerment through the provision of basic social services.

 

Linking Towns and Villages by constructing roads thus promoting unity and food security, and the provision of other basic social services are shared goals of both the Legislative and Executive branches of the government.

 

The Executive Director of LACE, Julius K. Sele, has led strategic delegations of the Agency to all project locations of the President’s tour. Through direct interaction with her, she expressed joyous impression in the quality she said can be clearly seen in the projects LACE is implementing on behalf of the government.

Civil Society Organizations Push for Referendum

By Mafanta Kromah

 

The Civil Society Coalition held a “multi-stakeholders dialogue” on June 2, 2017 in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County with Law Reform Commission and a cross section of Liberian Senate. The group is working to promote Nationwide Consultations on the Constitutional Review process with the intends to encourage an accelerated action on a joint resolution leading to the referendum bill by the National Legislature.

The dialogue was climaxed by critical review and procedural discussions on the propositions pending before the House of Senate and propounding possible steps for a Constitutional referendum bill within 2017 by the National Legislature.

The dialogue brought together 15 Senators, two Supreme Court Justices (Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks and Cllr. Kabineh M. Ja’neh) and the leadership of the Law Reform Commission, the Grand Bassa County Superintendent, and the Leadership of Civil Society Organizations on the Constitutional Reform, and local authorities of Grand Bassa County.

Speaking during the discussion, Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, made presentation on the topic: “Towards a Constitutional Amendment.  Justice Banks’ presentation inspired and motivated the Senators who promised to take timely action toward reviewing, discussing and working to get a Referendum Bill considering that they have better clarity to work toward amending the Liberia Constitution.

For his part, Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, presented on proposals for Amendment, his presentation layout on the entire 24 recommendations from the Constitution Review Committee report with statistics on what were voted or and against during the national conference to assist the Senators deepen their understanding of what were the issues discussed around the country.

Some Senators who gave reasons for the delay in discussing the constitutional propositions, indicated that the delays were due to procedural error earlier observed from the Executive Branch, but based on the precision from the presentations made by constitution lawyers including Justice Banks and Cllr. Kanneh, provided the technical basis to precede discussions to amend the Liberian Constitution.

Following the presentations, the discussion session prompted series of questions and answers, which provided many Senators the opportunity to engage Justice Banks for clarity noting “we are now fully being prepared and equipped to move ahead in reviewing, discussing and presenting a referendum bill for the Liberian voters to decide,” one Senator said.

In addition, Grand Bassa County first female Senator, Yornblee Karngar-Lawrence, assured that a joint committee meeting with both the Houses of Senate and Representatives could be possible to review and discuss the propositions in which a report will be provided to the plenary for action.

On his part, Nimba County Senator Thomas S. Grupee, who is the Chairman on the Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation said the Liberian Senate will review and discuss all 24 recommendations which derived from the Gbarnga national Conference and make a decision through a report to plenary to resolve on a possible referendum bill and indicated that the senate could probably add new issues that will improve governance in Liberia.

Meanwhile, Grand Bassa County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif, who is the Chairperson on the Committee on Executive, pledged to work with her colleagues to promote the process that will lead to a national constitution referendum that is overdue since 2015. “This will ensure that the Liberian citizens will have their voices heard through voting for or against final propositions,” she indicated.

The Constitution of Liberia is the supreme law of the Republic of Liberia. The current constitution, which came into force on January 6, 1986, replaced the Liberian Constitution of 1847, under a Military Regime, which had been in force since the independence of Liberia.

Liberian people desire a new and better constitution after 170 years of independence and on August 13, 2015, the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf submitted the final Constitution Review recommendations to the Legislature through the President Pro-Tempore to be studied for possible legislative action that could constitute propositions for amendment through a national referendum. This process is still pending at the Liberian Senate.

This initiative is being undertaken by the the concerned Civil Society Organizations including (NAYMOTE, PMU, LDMI, IREDD and SAIL) supported by the United Nation Development Program in Liberia.

The five CSOs however recommended  the Law Reform Commission timely expedite to give all legal support to the House of Senate and the necessary documentation that will assist in reviewing, discussing and making decision for a National referendum bill leading to referendum.

That the Committee on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation as well as the Committee on Judiciary at the Liberian Senate, takes leadership actions in reviewing, discussing, reporting to the plenary for onward introduction on the floor for deliberations based on the presentations and lesson learned from Constitutional Lawyers including Justice Philip Z.A. Banks and Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairperson, Law Reform Commission during the dialogue.

They also requested that the Law Reform Commission and Civil Society Organizations continue working with the House of Senate and House of Representatives to pass a Bill of Referendum prior to their annual agriculture break in 2017.

Meanwhile, Eddie D. Jarwolo, member of the CSO organizations said, amendment of the Constitution through a referendum will contribute meaningfully in addressing some of the governance challenges facing the country including dual citizenship, reduction of tenure of elected public officials, decentralization, and the elections of local leaders.

The five CSO Coalition on Constitutional Reform commended the Law Enforcement commission, the Liberian Senate and Lawyers for honoring the initiative.

They affirmed that they are optimistic that based on the presentations by Justice Philip Banks and Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairperson, Law Reform Commission, the Senators will take needed responsible leadership role in formulating propositions for a national constitution referendum based on the current reality and would manage with the procedures error that was done realizing that since 1847 Liberians have never participate in any constitution reform process, this is therefore an opportunity that should not be missed