Kenya is looking to deepen its bilateral ties with Liberia following the election of President George Weah, the country’s Head of State, Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed.
The two nations already have an established relationship with Kenya exporting a variety of goods to Liberia, including iron products, household equipment, data processing machines and electric power machinery. Kenya’s main imports from Liberia include petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals.
Kenyatta’s commitment comes at a time when Kenya is set to become a council member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a position it will hold for two years. The East African country is looking to tap into the Ksh200 billion industry and strengthen its ties with regional partners.
Starting in 2018, Kenya will join Liberia, South Africa, Morocco, and Egypt as council members of the same rank to explore their respective interests in maritime transport or navigation.
“President-elect Weah’s victory is a triumph of democracy,” President Kenyatta said.
“Kenya will stand with Liberia, for we believe that Pan-African cooperation will win every African the prosperity and freedom they deserve. I look forward to working with President Weah in the service of those ideals,” he added.
Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) declared political campaigning opened in July 2017, ahead of presidential and in legislative elections in October.
George Weah was declared the winner this week. According to the World Bank, the election signals the end of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s terms in office and a post-conflict turning point for Liberia.
Economists predict that Weah’s administration will have a tough task stemming inflation as his new government moves to boost the country’s economic growth.
The World Bank stated that inflationary pressures in Liberia increased during the first half of 2017.
“Headline inflation averaged 12.4% in the first half of 2017, compared with 7.3% the previous year, driven by the relatively fast pace of the depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the U.S. Dollar,” the Bank said in a statement.
The Bank also stated that a resultant rise in the cost of living, especially the cost of food, which is mostly imported, increased fiscal pressures.
“Limited employment continues to undermine the welfare of Liberians in both urban and rural areas,” said the lender.
The international community has, nonetheless, expressed confidence in Liberia’s President-elect and his ability to do a better job than his predecessor in building the country’s economy.
Speaking after Weah’s victory was announced, United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) head Farid Zarif said, despite continued vulnerabilities and fragilities, the UN is confident that going forward, the country will be in a far better situation to meet the challenges of the future.