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Shoniyin unveils Foreign Service reform plans

Arthur Douglas
Foreign Minister Ngafuan
Foreign Minister Ngafuan

(elbcradio.com/Liberia/Jan. 2, 2015)-The newly commissioned Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Elias Shoniyin, says plans are at foot to reform Liberia’s Foreign Service.

Deputy Minister Shoniyin said his proposed reform is not only aimed at making the Foreign Service more accountable, professional and robust, but more effective in accruing the best for Liberia.

“We want to ensure that we have a foreign service that is truly representative of the Liberian people,” Minister Shoniyin said in an interview with elbcradio.com, a day after officially taking office.

He also said: “As part of the reform, the nation’s foreign policy will thoroughly be reviewed, high standards set for entry into foreign missions, and Foreign Service staff’s families will be given attention.”

“Beyond that, we are going to develop foreign policy specific, and for every bilateral engagement, we must have a foreign policy detail,” he said.

“What’s Liberia’s foreign policy with China?” the Deputy Minster wondered, adding: “We need to get one particularly with China, which basically says to us what do we want from this relationship with China.”

With over twenty-five embassies and foreign Missions across the world, Liberia pursues ‘Development Diplomacy,’ the thrust of its foreign policy.

This is interpreted as using the country’s foreign engagements to maintain peace and stability with the outside world and, at the same time, attract development.
Deputy Minister Shoniyin is the most immediate former Deputy Minister for International Economic Cooperation and Integration.

He was among senior government officials ushered in their new offices recently, following their appointments by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and sub-sequent confirmation by the Liberian senate.

They include outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sylvester M. Grigsby, and now Minister of State without Portfolio, Ambassador Grigsby was honored for over forty years of distinguished service at the Foreign Ministry.

Others are Assistant Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs, Rosetta Nagbe-Jarkollie, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Albratha Doe, Deputy Minister for Administration, Dr. Wede Elliot–Brownell, and Inspector General of Foreign Service, Madam Marie Coleman.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shoniyin said he managed to attract huge investment into the country, during his service as Deputy Minister for International Economic Cooperation and Integration.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affair, through my former department, is now able to raise over 120million United States Dollar grant to direct resource,” he said.

Minister Shoniyin said: “The funds, provided by the governments of Japan, China, Germany, among others, were given to critical sectors of the national development agenda, ranging from infrastructure to agriculture development.”

“The Government of Japan was able to help us with a 45 million US dollar grant for the rehabilitation of the Somalia Drive road, we also got 38 million US Dollar grant from the Government of Germany as their intervention into the transport sector in the northern part of the country.”

He added: “The People’s Republic of China also contributed 18 million US Dollar grant which was directed towards the renovation of the Samuel Kanyon Doe sports complex.”

The Department of International Economic Cooperation and Integration is responsible for harnessing resources internationally to bridge gaps that Liberia’s domestic resources cannot fill.

 


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