[ 2017-10-08 ]
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Touts Legacy As She Prepares To Step Down
Havard-trained economist Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was
the first democratically elected woman president
in Africa when she won the Liberian elections in
2005, and the second to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
She is stepping down after 12 years at the helm of
the fragile West-African state.
Liberians go to the polls on October the 10 for
the first round of the presidential and
When she was sworn in for her first mandate in
2005, Sirleaf inherited a country ruined by a 14
years of civil war that killed more than 250,000
people, rampant corruption, a battered economy and
about $4.5 billion, which creditors took 5 years
In 2011, she was one of a trio of women who won a
Nobel Peace Prize; four days later she was
Sirleaf was slowly rebuilding Liberia’s economy
when the Ebola epidemic erupted in 2014. The
disease killed 4,800 people in Liberia, and a
total of 11,000 people in West Africa as it swept
through the neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone
infecting more more than 20,000 people.
Liberia was declared ebola-free in June 2015 when
Sirleaf said the country needed two years to
regain its economic footing as commodity prices
had also slumped.
Sirleaf was chairwoman of the Economic community
of West African States (ECOWAS) when she mediated
for the peaceful handover of power from Gambia’s
Yahya Jammeh who lost the election to Adama Barrow
but refused to go.
Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, lost the 2016
election to businessman Adama Barrow, but the
authoritarian leader contested the results in a
move condemned at home and abroad.
In 2015 the United States approved a $257 million
grant to Liberia under its Millennium Challenge
Compact program, which Johnson Sirleaf said she
planned to dedicate to expanding the country’s
power capacity which reached fewer than 2 percent
of Liberia’s 4.3 million people have access to
In 2017 USAid announced up to $27m in funding in
Liberia programming for Let Girls Learn, an
initiative launched by Michelle and Barack Obama
to promote education for girls.
Sirleaf said last November she was concerned about
President-elect Donald Trump’s policy towards
Africa would be.
She said that Liberia, a nation founded in the
19th century by freed American slaves, had a long
and historical relationship with the United States
and she expected that to continue. But that she
was worried investments and special programmes
that have been put in place by President Obama and
by President George Bush before him could be
Source - africanews
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