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Liberia, Monrovia, 24 Feb. 2016 – The APRM undertook a Country Support Mission (CSM) to Liberia (CSM) from 21 to 24 February 2016. The Support Mission was led by Hon. Brigitte Sylvia Mabandla, the APR Panel Member in charge of the Review Process for Liberia. She was accompanied by Mr. Ferdinand Katendeko, the APRM Secretariat Coordinator for Liberia. The Mission also included Representatives of the three Strategic Partners of the APRM – the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP-RBA), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and African Development Bank (AfDB).
The following were the main objectives of the Country Support Mission:
• Drawing up a Road Map for the Review of Liberia;
• Sensitising the principal stakeholders on their roles in the APRM process; and
• Signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Head of State and the Lead Panel Member.
The CSM offered the opportunity to assess Liberia’s preparedness to begin the review process, following the advice given to the country during the Advance Mission undertaken in March 2013 by Ms. Baleka Mbete, the then Lead Panel Member in charge of Liberia. During this Visit, the Support Mission noted that country had established the main structures; the country has appointed as its Focal Point, Hon. Amara Konneh, the Minister of Finance; the National Governing Council (NGC) is currently chaired by Mr. Emmanuel David, with Mr. Malcom Joseph, from the Civil Society, as Deputy Chairman of the NGC. The country also has a fully functioning Secretariat, headed by Mr. Dax Sua, with several staff members.
The Continental APRM Mission met with the Chairman of the National Governing Council and his Deputy, and with members of the National APRM Secretariat. The Mission was informed that Technical Research Institutions were yet to be recruited in March 2016. The Mission learnt of financial challenges to the APRM process in Liberia, which had reportedly delayed the recruitment of Technical Research Institutions (TRIs) and a Communication Officer for the review-related activities. The Mission advised the NGC to involve the Strategic Partners in the recruitment of TRIs and the Communication Officer.
The Mission also had meetings with the Deputy Minister of Fiscal Affairs, Hon. James F. Kollie, Deputy Minister of Economic Management, Dr. Mounir Siaplay, the Deputy Minister of Budget, Hon. Tanneh G. Brunson, as well as a Member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Larry P. Younquoi. The Mission requested them to throw their weight behind the APRM process. The Deputy Ministers and the Member of the House of Representatives pledged their full support to the APRM process.
The Country Support Mission had the pleasure of meeting with state and non-state actors at the City Hall, Monrovia, on 23 February 2016. The Mission also visited the Governance Commission of Liberia and exchanged ideas on the Commission’s participation in the APRM process. During the interactions, the Mission explained the APRM process to all the stakeholders, who also pledged their support to the process.
The CSM further paid a Courtesy Call on the UNDP Country Director, Mr. Kamil Kamaluddeen, who promised to support the APRM process in Liberia.
Together with the National Governing Council, the CSM drew up a Road Map for the APRM process for Liberia, which provides for the hosting of an external Country Review Mission by Liberia in February 2017, to pave the way for the peer review of the country at the June 2017 Summit of the APR Forum.
The visit by the Country Support Mission culminated in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Head of State of Liberia, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the Lead Panel Member, Hon. Brigitte Sylvia Mabandla, on 24 February 2016. By signing the MoU, Liberia committed herself to undertaking the APRM process and submitting itself for review in the four thematic areas covered by the APRM.
The signing of the MoU was witnessed by the Focal Point, the APRM National Secretariat, Members of the NGC, Ministers, Representatives of the APRM Strategic Partners (UNDP, UNECA and AfDB) and the Media.
During the ceremony for the signing of the MoU, the Lead Panel Member commended H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for fighting the Ebola epidemic successfully. She also thanked the President for her wise stewardship, commitment to sustainability and invigoration of the APRM during her tenure as Chairperson of the Continental Mechanism.
Hon. Brigitte Sylvia Mabandla emphasised that she was happy to see Liberia ready for review within the stipulated period. She requested H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s continued support to the APRM structures and the entire APRM process to ensure a successful review of Liberia. The President reiterated her support to the process and pledged that her Country would follow the Road Map leading to its peer review at the June 2017 APRM Summit.