El brote de ébola que comenzó el año pasado en Guinea, Sierra Leona y Liberia, tres de los cuatro países de la Unión del Río Mano, es el más grave registrado desde que en 1976 se diagnosticó esa enfermedad por primera vez en el África central. Las consecuencias de la epidemia han sido devastadoras y han puesto en entredicho los importantes avances socioeconómicos de nuestros tres países después de decenios de conflictos e inestabilidad.
Hasta ahora, esa región ha registrado un total de 25.791 casos y 10.689 muertes, casi diez veces el número de muertes de todas las epidemias de ébola combinadas.… Seguir leyendo »
As the Ebola nightmare continues in Liberia and as we battle to contain the epidemic, it is important to look beyond the immediate crisis. Many more lives will be lost before this dreadful outbreak is beaten, but to properly honor the memory of the victims we need to ask how it happened in the first place and, more pressingly, how we can prevent it from happening again.
After 30 years of brutal civil and political unrest, Liberia was a nation reborn. We transformed our country from a failed state into a stable democracy, rebuilding its infrastructure and its education and health systems, and enjoying one of the most promising growth records in Africa.… Seguir leyendo »
As Liberia celebrates 10 years since the signing of the peace accords that ended our devastating series of civil wars, it is right to reflect upon not only the progress the country has made, but also the concurrent transformation of much of Africa.
Twenty years ago, few African countries could be considered democracies, and where elections were held, many were merely showcases for long-entrenched strongmen pretending they had public support. This was an age of coups and man-made disasters. Now, Africa is a continent dominated by young and genuine democracies with many, such as Liberia, emerging from a period of sustained conflict that severely weakened their fundamental institutions of state.… Seguir leyendo »
In the developed world, reliable energy is something that can be taken for granted. People pay attention only when something goes wrong, like when the power goes out during the Super Bowl, forcing players and fans to sit uncomfortably in the dark for 34 minutes.
In my country, the West African nation of Liberia, living without power has become a way of life. For the past decade, we’ve been digging out from the aftermath of a 23-year civil war that left our energy infrastructure in shambles. In a country of 4.1 million, only about 1 percent of urban residents — and almost no rural residents — have access to electricity.… Seguir leyendo »
On Saturday I was in Oslo with two of my sisters from Africa, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of — according to the Nobel Prize committee members — our “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
On Tuesday, I will be in Paris to talk more generally about the role of women in shaping Africa’s future and also to pay my respects to the man who created the prize I am taking with me back to Liberia: Alfred Nobel.
It was in Paris in November 1895 that this Swedish inventor, who made a fortune with the invention of dynamite, wrote his last will and testament leaving much of his estate to establishing the prizes that bear his name.… Seguir leyendo »
Americans are an extraordinarily generous people. As president of Liberia, I have seen firsthand the benefits of this generosity.
From 1980 through 2003, my tiny West African nation was engulfed in conflict that left our infrastructure and economy in tatters. Many of our children missed out on an education, and we still suffer from a critical skills shortage. For nearly 25 years, our judicial system was weak. We have had to tackle a massive external debt and reestablish the rule of law and sound governance.
Even now, eight years after our civil war ended, Liberia faces a huge uphill battle. Even though we have achieved economic growth averaging 7.2 percent since 2006, the basic needs of some 60 percent of our population remain unmet.… Seguir leyendo »
Ten years ago, heads of state from across the world promised “to spare no effort to free their fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected.” The historic Millennium Declaration was duly adopted and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established, with the aim of reversing the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people.
Ten years is a long time, and many millions will be looking to the United Nations General Assembly’s summit meeting next week to assess progress on the MDGs for a beacon of hope, a chink of light.… Seguir leyendo »