Liberia-Japan ties continue to grow stronger and stronger as Japan lends a helping hand to help develop and fight diseases in Liberia. To help combat the diseases affecting Liberia, alleviate hunger and improve the infrastructure in its country, Japan has donated funds and health care equipment to Liberia. These come as a reward to the Liberians as they are one of the poorest countries and thus require all the support that they can get from other countries.
Bilateral ties formed between west African country Liberia and east Asian country Japan are said to continue to grow from strength to strength. This was mentioned by Liberian president, President George Manneh Weah, in a tête-à-tête (face-to-face conversation) that was held on Thursday, 24 June 2021. Japan has been supportive of Liberia for years and has continuously assisted them in developing their country. It also intervened when Liberia faced the civil war, Ebola Virus Disease, and the Coronavirus, and Liberia remain forever grateful for the assistance that it has received from Japan.
When helping Liberia fight the Ebola Virus Disease, they donated 7 ambulances and 48 beds at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. A 1000 students’ footwear, gloves, personal protective equipment and body bags were shipped to Liberia as Japan’s contribution to helping Liberia fight against the Ebola Virus Disease. The handover of these ambulances and beds was done by Mr Shigeru Umetsu, Japanese Charge d’Affaires. He also expressed his deepest condolences to the people of Liberia and those affected by the Ebola Virus Disease.
Liberia, being one of the poorest countries in the world despite its abundant natural wealth and favourable geographic location, signed a $2.7 million Food Aid Agreement in 2018 aimed to alleviate hunger and promote food security in their country. The following year, they signed a $2.7 million Grant Agreement with Japan aimed to support the health sector within Liberia. The $2.7 million Food Aid Agreement was disclosed by the Japanese Foreign Minister His Excellency Mr Taro Kono at a bilateral meeting which he held with Liberia’s Foreign Minister His Excellency Gbehzohngar Milton Findley at his Foreign Ministry office in Tokyo, Japan. On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, the Governments of the Republic of Liberia and Japan signed the Food Aid Agreement in the Minister’s Conference Room on the 4th floor of the Foreign Ministry.
The signing of the Grant Agreement also took place on the 4th floor of the Ministry in the Minister’s Conference Room but on Monday, 8 April 2019. Gbehzohngar Milton Findley, Liberia’s Foreign Minister, signed the Grant Agreement on behalf of Liberia, while H.E. Tsutomu Himeno, the Japanese Ambassador to Liberia, signed on behalf of the Japanese Government. The $2.7 million grant provided by Japan is aimed to support the Liberian health sector, which will be used to provide medical equipment for major facilities across the nation that will build a resilient health sector.
The $2.7 million Grant Agreement also signifies the mutual friendship and ties between Liberia and Japan, as well as the amicable friendship between the presidents of the two countries.
Japan is where Liberia sources many of its vehicles, high-tech electrical and mechanical equipment to Liberia.
The vehicles and equipment sourced from Japan made a total value of $72 million in the year 2013, which led to Japan being Liberia’s fifth largest import trading partner. With the help of Japan, Liberia aims to continue its nation-building programs, which include improving infrastructures such as modern houses and markets, paved roads, health centres and human resource development.
This is a project aimed to ease access to homes and services in the booming residential area by laying out all community roads and alleys. Along with this, Japan has committed itself $20 million for road connectivity. The $20 million seeks to extend the road from Freeport to the Gabriel Truck Bridge before the end of 2023.
Japan not only helps Liberia in the health and food sectors, but it also aims to build structures such as roads and markets and support the agriculture sector in the area of rice production. It also intends to continue supporting Liberia in the energy and infrastructure sectors. The Japanese Government has also promised to stand side by side and assist Liberia in all aspects of the development of its country.