Athens, Ga. – In a demonstration of their commitment to working together on a variety of assistance programs, Liberian Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs Amara Konneh and University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams signed a memorandum of understanding during a ceremony Sept. 29 in Athens, Ga.
The agreement outlines a long-term plan to expand assistance programs in governance reform through a continued partnership between Liberia and the university. It also calls for new cooperation in agricultural assistance.
The basis for the memorandum came out of meetings in Monrovia between Adams and UGA administrators, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Konneh, and other senior officials of the Liberian government. It formalizes the strong ties that have developed between UGA and Liberia in recent years.
UGA provides public sector training in Liberia through its Carl Vinson Institute of Government. The Vinson Institute began a partnership with the Liberia Institute of Public Administration in 2007. Together, CVIOG and LIPA have worked directly with Liberia’s National Legislature on public finance training for members of the legislature.
Konneh met with Vinson Institute administrators during his trip to Athens to discuss how the university can continue to support the government of Liberia’s efforts to rebuild an efficient public sector in Liberia. He oversees the development and implementation of the National Capacity Development Strategy, which focuses on building Liberia’s human capacity. Central to these efforts is promoting the technical and leadership skills among public officials that are necessary for good governance.
A group of senators and representatives from Liberia traveled to Georgia for two weeks in 2008 and engaged in an intensive training program designed to enhance their understanding of budget development and oversight. Additionally, LIPA staff worked closely with Vinson Institute faculty to develop their own training and assistance programs. CVIOG and LIPA will seek to expand this legislative training program to include members of the executive branch as well.
While in Athens, the minister also met with Ed Kanemasu, director of the Office of Global Programs in UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He and Konneh discussed the opportunity to explore and pursue programs that will aid Liberia’s livestock and fisheries sectors with the Ministry of Agriculture.
The University of Georgia is a top-twenty-ranked public research university with an enrollment of more than 34,000 students. UGA’s Vinson Institute is the largest university-based provider of governmental training, technical assistance, and applied policy research in the United States. Through its International Center, CVIOG extends its outreach by providing training and consultation to public officials and administrators worldwide.
UGA is internationally recognized for its programs in animal and dairy science, poultry science, and agricultural economics. The university already works with West African researchers on cultivation, marketing, and nutritional uses of peanuts through the UGA-managed Peanut Collaborative Research Support Program.