President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia has saluted the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) for the results it is achieving on capacity development initiatives across the continent.
Sirleaf gave the commendation while receiving the foundation’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, at the Presidential Mansion, Monrovia.
She pledged her commitment to support the efforts in Liberia and across Africa and that she would, particularly support the ACBF in its quest for resources to help African governments build, retain and use critical skills on which the continent’s sustainable development will depend.
Reviewing recent initiatives by the ACBF in Africa in general, and in Liberia in particular, in order to seek ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the programmes, Mrs Sirleaf said she was particularly pleased with the coming to fruition of the Empowering Women in Agriculture (EWA) initiative.
EWA, initiated by ACBF in 2012 together with other partners, serves as lead champion to build the capacity of women farmers and promote their access to agricultural land, agricultural project-financing, technology, knowledge and communication opportunities.
In her view, the recent launch of the pilot project in Tanzania “is a sign of progress” and ACBF should do all that is necessary to ensure continuity of the initiative.
Speaking to the press after presenting ACBF’s exact plans to support the Republic of Liberia’s development agenda and obtaining Liberia’s support to carry ACBF’s voice to funding organisations, Prof Nnadozie said “President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s exemplary leadership role in championing several African causes has been a motivating factor for our request that she helps to champion our global call for support to capacity development in Africa.
“As you may have read in our various reports, evidence abounds that the one crucial thing that may considerably delay Africa’s progress toward sustainable inclusive growth and development is the inadequacy of appropriate skills in very important sectors of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM.
“Africa has a shortage of 4.3 million engineers and 1.6 million agricultural scientists/researchers to implement its development plans and the only way to realize this is to robustly build capacity in these areas as well as in managing structural changes.”
According to him, supporting the work of the ACBF, which has the 26-year track record of having effectively and efficiently managed over 700 million dollars of capacity programmes and grants retailing across Africa, will prove extremely important at a time when Africa is trying to implement its development blueprint known as Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals amidst serious capacity challenges.
Nnadozie thanked President Sirleaf for her support and for the directives she has given to Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning to honor the country’s pledges in support of the Foundation’s work.
In fact, a meeting between the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Boima S. Kamara and the Head of ACBF, was reassuring.
“We will ensure you remain a viable entity that drives Africa in the direction of self-reliance, sustainable job creation and better quality of life for all Africans,” Kamara told the ACBF boss.
ACBF has to date invested about $1.4 million in the Republic of Liberia, particularly in support of LIMPAC’s human and institutional support, the phase of the program of which was concluded in 2012.
The recent visit to Liberia by Prof Nnadozie has paved the way for a revamping of the Foundation’s support to LIMPAC and other programs to support Liberia’s efforts in reaching its own development aspirations especially through developing the critical capacities.
By Our Correspondent