Liberia's Demonstration of Inspired Leadership
When Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took over the reins of power in 2006 as Liberia and Africa's first democratically elected President in 2005, eye-brows were raised not only in Africa but in many parts of the world regarding whether given the chronic challenges facing Liberia and indeed the African continent, a women could effectively lead the country.Certainly the challenges facing Liberia such as political instability and lack of democratic values are in many regards similar to that in most African countries. Among challenges that President Sirleaf was confronted with are: bad governance, illiteracy, the disregard for law and order, the ethnic divisions that set Liberians apart, the need to heal the wounds of the bitter and destructive 14-year civil conflict, traditional and religious norms that kept women in the kitchen to do the house-hold chores and many more.
Today her records speak for themselves. President Sirleaf has proven to the entire world that indeed there is no ground for exclusively preserving leadership for males in any country, as what men can do women are equally capable of doing.
During her recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, she was spontaneously applauded for a well crafted speech that represents not only the challenges and issues at hand in Liberia, but in Africa and developing countries around the world.
The President has demonstrated that she is au-fait with the global problems of the need to reduce poverty and corruption by adopting zero tolerance to these pandemics among others all of which can best be tackled within the scope of global perspectives and partnership for development and democracy.
Speaking as a panelist on the high-level forum of g7+ Group of Fragile and Conflict-Affected States on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, President Sirleaf noted that there are three more years to end the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The MDG is a development framework of the United Nations crafted by world leaders in 2000 aimed at reducing poverty in the world by half through the achievement of eight key development goals.
The 8 MDGs to be achieved by 2015 are development in agriculture and food security, universal primary education, gender equality and empowerment, reducing infant and maternal mortality rates, ensuring environmental sustainability, forging global partnership for international development, reducing deadly diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, HIV/Aids, etc.
President Sirleaf's selection as a panelist on this high-level forum to discuss global development perspectives did not come by accident as she had once served with distinction at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York and since becoming president of Liberia she had been working relentlessly to put Liberia in the development frail in line with other nations of the world.
The first step in this direction was to deploy considerable energy to ensure the effacing of Liberia's enormous debts totaling nearly four billion dollars owed international financial institutions including the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank (ADB), thereby bringing respectability and integrity to Liberia once more.
She has played a key role in inculcating democratic values in Liberia which goes beyond the holding of transparent elections.
President Sirleaf is on record for injecting civil service reforms and discipline, the formation of an anti-corruption commission, enhancing an unprecedented climate of press freedom, introducing decentralization and changing the paradigm in the crafting of the national budget to focus on human and infrastructural development such as roads and highway construction, education, health delivery services etc.
Liberia's nomination on the panel to lead this post-MDG initiative of what needs to be done after the MDGs expiration, is considered by many as indicative of the growing international confidence in President Sirleaf's inspirational leadership. She was quick to point that fragile and conflict-affected countries have enormous potential than is generally recognized. Writes John Momoh