President Weah speaks at US-Africa Forum

Liberian President Weah addresses the African and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC on December 13,

I bring you warm greetings and best wishes from the friendly
people of the Republic of Liberia. It is indeed an honor to join my colleagues from Africa to participate in this year’s US-Africa Leaders’ Summit.

On behalf of the Government and People of Liberia, and in my
own name, I would like to extend heartfelt appreciation to The
Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States of
America, and the Government and People of the United States,
for the invitation to be in attendance and participate in this
important Summit here in Washington DC.


Liberia has a long and historic relationship with the United States,
which has led us to having common positions on issues such as
democracy, human rights, global peace and security. We hold the
view that this Summit will strengthen our partnership and increase
our commitment to foster stronger cooperation in seeking the
broad interest of our respective countries in particular, and the
world at large.

This Summit should also reinforce our continued true partnership
and friendship with the United States. This should enable us to redefine and reset our urgent priorities in economic, social, and
political engagements that will serve as the reinforcement of our
genuine commitment to democracy, human rights, transparency and good governance.

Liberia believes that such engagements between Africa and the
United States will improve and strengthen bilateral and
multilateral relationships, foster peace and security on the
continent of Africa.


With millions of African descendants and immigrants in the
diaspora, there is no doubt that this is a vast reservoir of talent,
training, expertise, and financial capacity which must and should
be utilized to enhance the advancement and development of our

This collaborative effort will serve as the bridge connecting
Africans in the diaspora back to their collective roots and cultural
identities. It is therefore incumbent upon us as leaders to
recognize and acknowledge the significance of these many
millions of our compatriots living in the diaspora communities,
whose contributions are pivotal to the growth and development of
our continent.

Although physically separated from the motherland, they have a
major influence on the socio-economic, cultural, and political
landscape of their respective countries, which should not be
overlooked or under-estimated.

In recognition of the value of our Liberian diaspora community, at
the inception of my administration nearly five (5) years ago, I
embarked upon the process of removing restrictive laws to
encourage the Liberian diaspora to contribute more to the
development of our country.

Today, I am pleased to inform you that, in July of this year, I
signed into law an Act authorizing dual citizenship and allowing
women to pass citizenship to their children. By so doing, my
administration has now removed all legal barriers which had
prevented natural-born Liberians from rightfully resuming
citizenship of the land of their ancestors. ONCE A LIBERIAN,

This is a demonstration of my Government’s commitment to
ensure that our diaspora is not left out in the national
reconstruction and development of Liberia. We consider the
Liberian diaspora community as a valuable asset to our nation’s
growth and development, and their full participation is an
important part of the nation-building process.


Africa’s future ought to be bright. We have the potential to turn
around the grim outlook of the continent that is presented in the
news daily. With more than 60 percent of Africans being young
people, we have the demographic dividend capable of making our
region responsive to the needs of its people.

The role young people and the general African diaspora must play
in addressing the needs of the continent must be through,
innovation, investment and knowledge transfer.

It is often said in Africa that young people are our future leaders.
But I have observed that not much opportunities are created to
allow them to reach their full potential. This has made a growing
number of them to seek opportunities here in the West, where
they have acquired quality education and useful skills in order to
contribute to the development and advancement of society.
I believe that young people are capable of conquering the world if
given a place to stand.

From a poor and humble background growing up in the slums of
Gibraltar in Liberia, I managed through hard work, discipline and
determination to climb to the top of my career as a professional

While pursuing my professional career in the diaspora myself, I
took back many investments to my home country, Liberia,
Zanzibar, Cote D’Ivoire and other parts of Africa. I invested in
many businesses and I invested in human capital by supporting
many young people in acquiring education to enable them
advance their lives and have a livelihood.

And so today I say to the youth of Africa, you can also succeed in
your chosen fields of endeavor, if you are prepared to be diligent,
disciplined, and determined.

African governments must also create the enabling environment
and the requisite framework that will allow our young people in the diaspora contribute, through their education and innovation, to the transformation of our beloved continent.

Our brothers and sisters in the diaspora are indispensable
partners in the development aspirations of our various countries.
We must welcome them. We must embrace them. We must
recognize them. Africans in the diaspora and Africans in Africa
are one people.

We can succeed if we allow peace to reign. And, we can succeed
if we lay the framework for our young people to have a smooth
transition in the democratic process.

There is no doubt in my mind that the young population of Africa
has a significant role in whichever direction Africa takes.

So my distinguished African diaspora brothers and sisters, I would
like to invite you to join us in helping to build a New Africa where
peace, unity, democracy, human rights, comprehensive freedom,
tolerance, togetherness, cooperation, reconciliation, equal
opportunity for all so that growth and sustainable development will be the cornerstone and foundation for the future of Africa.

May God bless Africa!
May God bless Liberia!
May God bless the United States of America!
May God bless us all!
I thank you!