President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has led a national recovery and reconstruction focused on transparency, good governance, and accountability after twenty-five years of misrule, corruption, and civil war in Liberia. The clearance of Liberia’s debt arrears and efforts to enhance security for the Liberian people and create economic opportunities are enhancing the environment for private sector development, attracting both domestic and foreign investment. President Sirleaf, the first woman to be elected head of state in Africa, provides her perspective on the role the private sector can play in Liberia and in emerging Africa more broadly. Todd Moss moderates a question and answer session after the president’s speech.
After her speech President Sirleaf fields questions from the audience. Determined to achieve independence from foreign aid within the next 10 years, she explains how infrastructure will help Liberia generate the revenue needed to move beyond foreign assistance. She goes on to comment on China's growing role in Liberia and Africa more generally, and to share what projects she hopes the US will help fund to move Liberia towards self-sufficiency.
President Sirleaf explains her approach to managing Liberia's lucrative natrual resource sector and how she balances tensions between wanting to be globally competitive while trying to keep companies invested in Liberia's local economy. In light of events in North Africa, she touches on the the youth unemployment problem in Liberia and describes the exciting emergence of a new class of investors in Monrovia.