MONROVIA: President George Manneh Weah has heaped praises on outgoing World Bank Country Manager, Dr. Kwhima “Sekou Dudu Nthara for his exceptional and productive service to the Government and people of Liberia during his term.
“It is very difficult to see you leave Liberia,” the Liberian Leader said during a farewell ceremony organized by the government on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex.
“If we had our own way, we would revise the rules of the World Bank to keep you here for the longest.”
President Weah recalled that when all seemed gloomy, and pessimists and doomsayers doubted the country’s ability to turn its dire economic outlook around, Dr. Nthara predicted positive outcomes, worked assiduously, and turned the World Bank’s support for Liberia into a transformative tool.
“His objectives and targets were to re-program the portfolio of the World Bank toward the strategic imperatives of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity, to increase the size of budgetary support Liberia was receiving from that institution, to lend some flexibility to World Bank rules and to fight for Liberia during the very dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Chief Executive recalled.
“I saw the sincerity of this young man when he and his regional boss, Mr. Pierre Laporte, who is present at this program today, were granted the audience by me at some time in 2019 for our first meeting.”
Dr. Weah further recalled how he had grown enormous interest in holding meeting with the two men following a meeting he had with development partners at the Ministry of Agriculture, to find solutions to the nosedived occurrences in the agriculture sector which was struggling, even though there appeared to be a lot of resources going to the sector.
The focus of the meeting, the President went on saying, was to brainstorm on ways the World Bank could be of help for Liberia, how the World Bank could do more for roads and agriculture, and how the World Bank could position itself to support more impactful projects.
“Both Khwima and Pierre assured me that they would do all they could to help the Pro-Poor Agenda to deliver more effectively for the Liberian people,” President Weah stressed, adding that the two men had since lived up to their commitment and all the assurances made, without disappointing him.
He reflected on the difficult conditions prevailing in the country when the World Bank official took assignment; noting that inflation was high, the exchange rate was in free fall, and many individuals became doubtful about not only the government’s economic policy direction but also the general direction of the country.
President Weah, however, said Dr. Nthara didn’t doubt the possibility that the situation was transformable, as he rose above the politics of the moment and saw the possibilities that lay in the government’s policy framework.
“Instead, he began a very close and intense collaboration with the relevant officials of my government to help turn around the macroeconomic challenges,” the president said.
He thanked Dr. Nthara for his numerous accomplishments made in their interests during his tour of duty.
“As you leave for your new assignment, we want you to know that we will always regard you as a friend of Liberia,” the President said.
During the ceremony, Dr. Nthara was gowned and given a plague as recognition of his invaluable services to the country over the last four years of his tenure as World Bank Country Manager.