Monrovia - The National Vision Conference convened in Gbarnga, Bong County and brought together more than 500 delegates from all counties, the Liberian Diaspora and observers from the International Community.
Observers say the Conference provided the space for Liberians to select a possible future. The Conference ended the design phase of the visioning process that was led by Finance and Acting Planning Minister Amara Konneh and the Chairman of the Governance Commission Dr. Amos Sawyer, which drew its legitimacy from the retrospective analysis, a growth diagnostic and extensive consultations in five geographic regions involving the 15 counties, in 156 administrative districts and in the Diaspora (Africa, Europe and North America).
According to the final outcome document, the Conference was held under the aegis of Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affair and the Governance Commission serving as sponsors. The Conference was organized by a 21-member National Conference Committee. A milestone in the journey of the Liberian people, the National Conference marks an end and initiates a beginning: an end to the process of a long-term perspective study on Liberia, and the beginning of the process of operationalization and implementation of the Vision.
Liberia aims to achieve middle-income status by 2030 through broad participation and inclusive growth. The Government’s growth strategy unveiled at a National Conference in Gbarnga last week aims to accelerate growth and development through consolidating peace, security rule of law and national reconciliation, the exploitation of natural resources, while maintaining sound macroeconomic policies, improving the business environment, and prudently allocating aid and commodity-based financing resources to expand infrastructure and formal sector employment.
However, Liberia’s experience with rapid growth in the 1960s and 1970s - that benefited a small percentage of the population, followed by economic collapse, widespread poverty and social unrest, and civil war - has made policymakers acutely aware that the quality of the growth process is at least as important as the rate of growth.
Now that peace has been established and growth is once again on an upward trend - with the reactivation of the iron ore and agriculture sectors, and prospects for oil, promising opportunities for significant growth in the medium to long term - the Government wants to ensure that Liberia’s growth over the next two decades will be sustainable and equitable.
A key objective of the new vision and growth strategy, the Agenda for Transformation, is to avoid the traps posed by dependence on primary resources while creating the basis for social inclusion, decentralization, national reconciliation; economic diversification and employment generation, and providing opportunities and training so that individuals across the country can partake in the growth process. FrontpageAfrica sought some inputs from Finance Minister Amara Konneh who recently shed light on the vision and the Agenda for Transformation through an in-depth interaction with one of the key architects behind the crafting of this new development instrument for Liberia.