Liberian President, George Weah, on Monday said political change was meaningless without development, prosperity and growth.
Mr. Weah said this while addressing State House correspondents at the end of a meeting he had with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
To help realise his agenda of development and growth, the Liberian leader disclosed that Liberia would need at least 6,000 teachers from Nigeria.
He added that he was in Nigeria on a mission of gratitude and respect for the roles that Buhari and Nigerians had played in maintaining peace and stability in the West African sub-region and particularly in Liberia.
Nigeria’s economy is the largest in Africa with the most powerful Army in the sub-region, “the country has never used its wealth and military prowess to expand its territory, threaten its neighbours, or destabilise any sovereign nation in the region,” he said.
Weah said Liberia needed Nigeria’s assistance to jump-start its economy.
He said, “The prices of our two basic export commodities, rubber and iron ore, continue to fall on the world diminished market. Our foreign exchange earnings from the export of these and other commodities are used mainly on the importation of food and other commodities, causing massive trade deficits.
“Youth unemployment is at an all-time high, and prices of basic commodities continue to increase.
“Our people have voted for change and for hope. And change is finally here. But mere political change is meaningless without development, prosperity and growth.
“We need Nigeria’s help to jump-start our economy. You played a major role in bringing peace to Liberia, you reformed our Army and today it is performing its duties to the highest professional standards.
“As we speak, they are serving in a peace-keeping mission in Mali. You have also built and expanded the capacities of Liberians in so many ways.”
The Liberian president made it clear that his country is open for business to Nigerian private sector. He however regretted the current volume of trade between the two countries, which he said, was very low.
He added, “The Liberian banking sector is dominated by Nigerian banks, and I am made to understand that their head offices in Nigeria may be considering reducing their support or even shutting them down because of the recent downturn in our economy.
“If this is true, l urge them not to do so, as l am optimistic that trade and commerce will increase in the near future.
“There are also major shortcomings in the electricity and power sectors, in road construction, in housing, in mining, and in fisheries, to name a few, that could be of serious interest to Nigerian investors, either as individuals or companies, or through joint ventures or public-private partnerships.
“We invite all of you to come to Liberia and explore the many new opportunities for investment that are bound to increase under this new political dispensation.
“I promise you that you will find a government that is not only business friendly, but ready to do business.”