The Central Bank of Liberia has once again taken a major step to enhance its financially inclusive program across the country. The latest move by the Bank is the construction and dedication of credit union banks in Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties, in the southeast of Liberia.The two counties are among the poorest in Liberia, making access to bank loans extremely difficult. If made available, interest rates on bank loans in these counties could be very high. CBL officials, led by Executive Governor J. Mills Jones, drove to the region last weekend to open the two banks, which would be used by registered credit unions and village savings and loan associations to facilitate access to finances for businesses and residents in that part of the country. The idea of this financial inclusion scheme emanated from Dr. Jones, who believes that unless the Liberian people can have access to the national cake and poverty is reduced, the economy will not be where it ought to be, and the suffering of the people would continue. The Board of Governors of the CBL, comprised of former Finance Ministers, former National Bank governors and commercial bank executives, have endorsed this idea, which is making a strong impact in the lives of ordinary Liberians in the countries rural areas. Thousands of citizens, including business owners, government officials, elders, and youth and student groups, lined up along the roadsides in Grand Gedeh, Rivergee, Grand Kru and Maryland counties to show their support to CBL officials as they visited their counties. Governor Jones’ trip to the Southeast was based on an invitation from citizens and officials of these counties, including Maryland County District #3 Rep. Isaac Roland, a man who is desperate to see the people of Maryland County rise from poverty.Mr. Harold K. Chea, head of the Unity Savings Credit Union in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, was also on hand to receive Dr. Jones and his delegation. Chea told reporters that he is proud to welcome and honor Dr. Mills Jones for his “unprecedented, invaluable, committed and dedicated service toward the empowerment of Liberians through the practical demonstration of his indigenous approach to building the Liberian economy.” Mr. Chea noted that the people of Grand Gedeh were overwhelmed by the financial and technical support they have received from the CBL through its unprecedented loan initiative under the leadership of Dr. Mills Jones.“Studies of performance for Liberian businesses after you took over as Governor of the CBL up to present reveal significant transformations in contrast to the past,” he said. “Liberian businesspeople have seen a new day. Access to finance is no longer a major issue; acquisition of skills and knowledge through capacity building is a milestone achievement that is accelerating the growth and expansion of Liberian owned businesses. We must commend you significantly for that,” Governor Jones,” lauded Mr. Chea.Rep. Isaac Roland was among several Liberians who praised the CBL Executive Governor for his loan initiative “that is helping our people significantly”.In response, Dr. Jones expressed his gratitude to the people of Maryland, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Grand Kru Counties for appreciating the work of the CBL. The CBL boss reiterated: “no one, irrespective of his/her geographic location, should see poverty as their destiny or as a badge of honor.” The CBL boss assured rural dwellers that the Bank remains committed to working with the Board of Governors, management and staff for the sustainable transformation of the Liberian economy.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
president David Granger has said that, despite their sometimes limited resources, small states can influence international relations.According to the President, small states usually lack the economic, geographic and strategic powers to impose on other states their will in what he described as the contentious and confrontational amphitheater of international relations, and so must pursue their national interests through the practise of diplomacy in the international system.DEFENCE DIPLOMACYPresident David Granger addressing the opening ceremony of the 17th Heads of Mission Conference on Monday“Small states, notwithstanding (their) limitations, can seek to influence international relations in order to achieve (their) foreign policy objectives. Guyana’s involvement in the United Nations’ (UN) Mission in Haiti, which assisted in the restoration of democratic government in Haiti, and its generous assistance to Grenada in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 are examples of the country’s defense diplomacy”, the President posited.He also said that the work of diplomats is impelled by the imperatives of their country’s national interests.“The images on Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown tell the tale of where out interests lie. The flying Coat of Arms of each Caribbean Community member state displayed there reminds that everyone knows that he/she is a citizen of a country, and that country is a constituent of the Caribbean Community”, the President declared.He noted that the erection of the Caricom Secretariat, the embellishment of CARIFESTA Avenue with the flags and insignias of other states, the observance of Caricom Day as a national holiday in Guyana, and the construction of the Cubana Monument are all “expressive of the National interest — to illustrate the state’s world view at the level of citizens, country and community”.“…the duty of the diplomats gathered here today (is) to care for our citizens, country and community. The recognition of the importance of citizenship is vital to (the) national interest, since a country is made up of citizens — persons recognised under the law as legal members of sovereign states, (who) are entitled to the protection of the state,” he said. “The right of every citizen is important wherever they are.”The President said the protection of Guyana’s sovereignty is an essential element of Guyana’s diplomacy. He said Guyana lacks the economic strength to sanction other states, and the military capability to extend its power beyond its borders; but as the only English-speaking country in South America, Guyana can influence international relations both in the north and south by exploiting strategic advantages.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, in his speech, said foreign policy is an extension of national policy, which must have as its primary aim the overall development of the nation.“This being the case, our representatives must understand their roles and responsibilities,” he posited.The foregoing remarks were made by President Granger and Minister Carl Greenidge at the opening ceremony of the 17th Heads of Mission Conference hosted by the Foreign Affairs Ministry at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown. The forum, which will end on April 8, is being held under the theme “Advancing Guyana’s Diplomacy in the 21st Century.”It will see discussions on a wide range of political and economic issues, including the challenges and opportunities presented by the current complex but evolving international situation; the preservation of the nation’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; economic diplomacy; the continuing role of the diaspora in national development; the role of foreign investment in the nation’s development; topical and urgent questions relating to the consequences of climate change; the effect of technology on modern diplomacy; and the multi-polar nature of modern international economic relations, among other issues.In addition, Guyana’s foreign relations will be examined with a view to strengthening and expanding traditional relationships, and determining whether diplomatic representation in some areas ought to be decreased or expanded. Guyana’s membership of multilateral and regional institutions such as Caricom, MERCOSUR, UNASUR and CELAC will also be given extensive consideration.