Hon’ble Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and Special Envoy of Prime Minister Shri G.M. Siddeshwara inviting HE John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana to India-Africa Forum Summit 2015
President of Liberia HE Ellen Johnson Sirleaf being conferred with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2012 by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi in September 2013
Liberia’s long-standing leader H.E. Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected lady President, crafted a strategy of national reconciliation and economic growth. President Sirleaf’s role in putting the country back on track after the devastating Ebola crisis and declaration of Liberia as an Ebola free nation in the quickest possible time, has been commended world over.
Since returning from war more than a decade ago, the country continues to struggle to provide the needs of the population estimated at over four million people. Health, education, roads, other infrastructure and basic social services are lacking with majority of the population unable to have access to safe drinking water and good health care.
The Liberian leader is known to greatly admire India’s expertise in capacity building, training and human resource development. Although India-Liberia relations span decades and are marked by warmth and mutual respect, the visit of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in September 2013 was a mile stone in galvanizing bilateral relations.
The landmark visit culminated in the signing of four pacts, which included the establishment of Joint Commission between the Foreign Ministries of two countries; cooperation between the Foreign Service Institutes; and the setting up of a cooperative institutional framework to facilitate and to enhance bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sector. India also signed a pact with Liberia to provide Line of Credit of US$ 144 million for transmission and distribution project.
President Sirleaf’s forceful declaration of Liberia’s support to India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council was warmly welcomed by India. The visit was historic in many ways as India honoured Sirleaf, a Harvard-trained economist, with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the year 2012, named after India’s first woman Prime Minister.
As Liberia continues to rebuild itself from the lost years of civil war, it sees India as an indispensable partner. India is one of the major contributors among the peacekeeping forces in Liberia under the UN Mission in Liberia. India has the singular distinction of contributing a 125 member all-women police force as part of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
The Indian Female Formed Police Unit (FFPU), which first reached Liberia in 2007, comprising 125 female peacekeepers, played an important role in stabilising Liberia and preventing crime and sexual abuses, which were once endemic in a country of just three million people. This has earned India praise of the UN as well as gratitude of the people of Liberia. Johnson-Sirleaf has generously commended the initiative and has spoken warmly of how the presence of the Indian policewomen had led to a surge in Liberian women applying to join their police force.
The goodwill for India in this West African country, home to around 3000 Indians, is spontaneous, and is reflected in burgeoning economic ties and development partnership. Bilateral trade stood at USD 264 million (as of 2014-15), with India’s exports valued at USD 207 million and India’s imports stood at USD 57 million.
Liberia is rich in resources such as iron ore, gold and timber. The country is also encouraging oil exploration. Some of the companies such as Arcelor Mittal have collaborated with Liberia to explore iron ore. Vedanta, JSPL, etc. are some of the other Indian companies to have tied up with Liberia to in the resource sector.
Capacity building forms an enduring pillar of India-Liberia relations. Under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme, India has provided 30 training slots to Liberia in 2015-16. The ICCR has granted 6 fully paid scholarships in 2015-16 for post graduate studies.
The PAN African e-network project, which provides tele-medicine and tele-education, is now operational in Liberia. Under IAFS I and II, India has agreed to set up an Information Technology Centre, a Farm Science Centre and a training centre for women in the Solar Energy sector. India gifted 15 buses to Liberia in 2014, which is seen by Liberians as an eloquent expression of India’s unflinching commitment to improving daily lives of thousands of Liberians. This was in addition to India’s gift of 25 buses in 2010.
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Animated by compassion for a long-standing friend, India promptly offered assistance of over USD 50,000 to Liberia to fight Ebola. In addition, the Indian government provided cash assistance of USD 500,000 to WHO as well as contribution of USD 10 million to UN Fund for Ebola and additional US$ 2 million for purchase of protective gear to tackle Ebola for the Ebola affected countries of West Africa. In addition to the Government assistance, the Indian community in Liberia stood firm with Liberia in the hour of need and contributed generously to the fight against Ebola.
India Writes Network
USD 264 million (as of 2014-15)
India’s exports: USD 207 million;
India’s imports: USD 57 million
There are 150 Indian companies in Liberia, including small and medium enterprises to manufacturing companies.
- Under ITEC programme, India has provided 30 training slots. ICCR provided 6 scholarships to Liberia in 2015-16.
- Under IAFS I and II, India has agreed to set up an Information Technology Centre, a Farm Science Centre and a training centre for women in the Solar Energy sector.
- India gifted 15 buses to Liberia in 2014.
- Joint Statement on the Visit of President of Liberia to India
- List of Documents signed during the State Visit of President of Liberia to India, September 9-13, 2013
- India Liberia Joint Statement on the visit of Dr. Shashi Taroor, Minister of State for External Affairs to Liberia (16-19 September 09)
- Prime Minister’s media statement during the State Visit of President of Liberia to India (September 9-13, 2013)
- Dreaming big: Africa’s first female president on India journey