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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Boakai Has Nothing to Show After First US Engagement

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By Festus Poquie

President-elect Joseph Boakai returned to the country Saturday after  21 days in the United States of America with nothing tangible to show for the series of meetings held with middle and low level US government officials.

Upon arrival at the Roberts International Airport on December 23, the incoming President did not tell journalists the specific nature of his conversation with the Americans and heads of multilateral organizations like the World Bank and the international Monetary Fund.

In all his public speeches since returning home, the Unity Party leader has made no mention of the kind of intervention he wants from the Americans and what level of commitment they offered his new administration.

“We knew what was ahead of us,” Boakai told reporters Saturday at the RIA were question was restricted for only friendly press.

“Immediately we left and went to do our medical check-up. We met with the IMF. We met with the World Bank. We met with some of our friends in the senate. We went to Delaware, we met with a number of potential investors.”

Boakai could say what they investors told him. He simply informed reporters that he his preparing for his inauguration and his first state of the nation address. Phone call to members of his communication team for details on the trip did not connect.

A barrage of photos coming from the U.S. shows the president elect standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Alice Albright, the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC), Liberian commentator Clarence Pearson wrote in a blog.

“Unfortunately, it appears the president elect lobby in the U.S. failed to gain traction. Meanwhile, six of the countries selected as eligible for compact assistance for FY 2024 were previously selected for FY 2023, they include Ivory Coast, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Togo, and Zambia. Other countries include Cape Verde, Tanzania, and the Philippines as beneficiaries of the new compact.

“The fact that Mr. Boakai was in the U.S. long before December 13, 2023 when the MCC’s Board made the selection, undermines the UP campaign and post-election rhetoric that Mr. Boakai holds a powerful international sway compared to his soon to be predecessor President Weah. Worse of all, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone scored lower than Liberia in the MCC, and yet they were selected for the MCC.

Prosperous nations like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE shun assistance from the IMF and World Bank, relying on their abundant resources said John Morlu – one of the leading policy thinkers on the Boakai team.

“This raises a poignant question: Why does Liberia, with its rich endowment, consistently turn to these institutions?

“In defiance of prevailing sentiments, Senator-Elect Amara Konneh expresses unabashed enthusiasm about engaging with the IMF and World Bank in Washington—a scenario all too familiar. However, a resolute path is urged for Joe Boakai, one that places paramount emphasis on a Business and Economic Forum designed to attract investments from successful black Americans in manufacturing, agriculture, technology, and Silicon Valley. The focus is clear—foster small-scale businesses and generate employment for all Liberians through free-market enterprise capitalism.”

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