Tony Blair and President Johnson Sirleaf announce partnership

22nd February 2010

Tony Blair today started a two-day visit to Liberia in order to launch a new project between his Africa Governance Initiative and President Johnson Sirleaf’s administration.

The project which follows a request from President Johnson Sirleaf will focus on the Ministry of State and will see a small team from the Initiative, under Mr Blair's guidance, working side-by-side with counterparts in the Liberian government with the aim to build the capacity at the centre of the Liberian administration to deliver for its people.

Mr Blair shares President Johnson Sirleaf’s ambition to “Lift Liberia” and transform the country as envisioned in the national Poverty Reduction Strategy.

During the visit, his first to Liberia, Tony Blair will take a part in a series of one-on-one meetings with the President. He will express his strong admiration for the President’s leadership and the progress being made.

Tony Blair said: "President Johnson Sirleaf is rightly regarded as one of Africa’s greatest leaders – that is why I am so pleased to be working with her. The progress that is being achieved is remarkable and a testament to the resolve of the Liberian people – stability is restored, political and civil freedoms have been established for all Liberians, the public administration is being rebuilt, roads are under construction and major investment is on the way. This is all incredibly heartening for any friend of Liberia."

The founding principle behind Tony Blair's Africa Governance Initiative, which is a registered charity in the UK and the US, is that Africa’s solutions are going to come from Africans and Africa’s leaders – leaders like President Johnson Sirleaf.

This is why Tony Blair is expanding his work into Liberia, building his support to African leaders that began in Rwanda and moved to Sierra Leone.

Some background on the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative:

The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, which is a registered charity in the UK and USA, works with some of Africa’s most dynamic leaders deliver the change their people need to relieve poverty.

By combining Tony Blair's unique experience as a leader and reformer, his personal relationships with African leaders, and in-country teams of experts, he is helping build the capacity of partners to tackle poverty and attract investment sustainably.

Renewing the commitment to Africa Tony Blair made as Prime Minister, the not-for-profit Africa Governance Initiative began in Rwanda and Sierra Leone in 2008.

The innovative hands on approach embeds small teams, working side-by-side with staff in Presidential Offices, Investment Agencies and key Ministries to support government to deliver poverty reduction as a national priority.

Creating lasting change takes time, but there are already signs of AGI’s potential to create a step change in the capacity of the current partner governments, and we hope to extend this model to new countries in the future.


Photography:  Aktiv I