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Sunday, July 21, 2024

LIBERIA: ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY PRESIDENT GEORGE MANNEH WEAH

Date:

JANUARY 21, 2024

MY FELLOW LIBERIANS

As I speak to you tonight, on the eve of another consequential political transition in the recent history of our beloved Nation, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and humility.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your President and Commander-in-Chief for the past six years. Together, in 2018, we embarked on a journey to build a united, peaceful, and prosperous Liberia, and I am deeply thankful for the trust and support you have bestowed upon me and my Administration during my tenure, as we navigated the complexities of governance. Your partnership was instrumental in the development and implementation of policies and programs that aimed to bring progress and development to our great nation.

Reflecting on the accomplishments of these six years, let me tell you that I am proud of what we have achieved together. We have built roads, supported free WASSCE and free tuition at high schools and public universities, stabilized the macroeconomic challenges we faced in 2018, built hundreds of pro-pro housing units and achieved on so many fronts than we are able to list here today.

However, I acknowledge that there is always room for improvement, and perhaps, more could have been done under different circumstances. Regrettably, some of the long-term projects we initiated did not reach completion during my tenure. I am hopeful that the incoming administration will carry the torch forward and bring these initiatives to fruition for the benefit of all Liberians.

Fellow compatriots, rumors and misinformation have played a large part in our politics over the last six years. It is my hope we as a country will overcome this challenge over the next six years. To begin this, we must start with the facts of the transition.

I must report to you that we are leaving behind a better economy than we inherited. Tomorrow, president elect Joseph N. Boakai, will inherit a stronger economy than I inherited.

There is a bigger net international reserve position than was handed me in 2018. I inherited about NINETY-FOUR MILLION, NINE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE THOUSAND United States dollars in net international reserves, and I am handing over to the next administration a net international reserve position of TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-TWO MILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND United States dollars. This is a 136 percent increase in net international reserve position. The total cash balance in the Government’s Consolidated accounts is UNITED STATES FORTY MILLION, FORTY-FOUR THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE DOLLARS AND NINETY CENTS. In 2018, my Government inherited a Consolidated cash position of about SEVEN MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS.

The next administration thus has more resources to deal with emergency macroeconomic challenges than my administration had at its disposal in 2018.

MY FELLOW CITIZENS: Throughout our time together, I held steadfast to two cornerstones of leadership—keeping the peace and upholding the democratic process and the rule of law. As you are all aware, Liberia, for the first time in over seven decades, experienced a peaceful transition of power when I assumed the presidency in 2018. Tomorrow, we will witness another historic moment as I hand over the reins of Government to my successor, President-elect Joseph Boakai, marking yet another significant milestone in our democratic journey.

I am immensely proud that during my tenure, Liberia remained at peace with itself, and at peace with its neighbors. Our Armed Forces, a force for good, were never turned against our own people, and external action was confined to international peacekeeping missions under the United Nations. This peace, sustained by our own domestic resources, is a testament to the maturity and strength of our Nation.

We protected the inalienable rights of every Liberian citizen as enshrined in our Constitution. Freedoms of speech, assembly, and expression were not only preserved but celebrated. There were no political prisoners or prisoners of conscience during my entire term—a testament to the development of strong democratic institutions that are now not only hailed as competent and professional but as trusted and credible.

Liberia is now regarded as a pillar of democracy in West Africa and a shining example to the world. This was only made possible through our various collaborative efforts. I want to thank all Liberians, regardless of political affiliation, for staying the course and helping build a stronger and more vibrant nation.

As I step aside as President of Liberia, I will remain actively engaged with the politics of the country as Standard Bearer and Political Leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in order to ensure the continuation of our strong and vibrant democracy.

I therefore urge you, my fellow citizens, to continue to be law-abiding and seek peaceful means to resolve differences, embrace tolerance and dialogue. Let us love one another, and come together as One People, One Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

In closing, let us remember the strength of our unity, the resilience of our democracy, and the hope that lies in the future of Liberia. As we welcome a new era, let us move forward hand in hand, with a shared commitment to building a united nation that will continue to thrive on observing the tenets of democracy and adhering to the rule of law.

May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the Republic of Liberia.

I thank you.

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