She went further to state that the MRU Secretariat is in line with the continental objectives is pleased to announce the preparations of its new 5 year strategic plan which will be finalized shortly following a validation workshop next week.
According to her, peace and security is paramount “as we work to nurture and engineer democratic pluralism in and amongst our member states.” She added that the year 2020 will see Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire, two member states hold important elections and during this period “we hope to share the pre and post war elections experiences of Liberia and Sierra Leone; two which have held elections and are working to consolidate the peace.”
She maintained that “convinced of the symbiotic relationship between peace and economic development, MRU has over the last 12 to 18 months canvassed various levels of support for women cross border traders with support from the African Development Bank with the United Nations system and in particular, the UNDP in all 4 countries to have a regional focus to development, peace stability for the greater good of the sub-region.
Sheidentified a number of programs currently underway with major development partners and the implementation will positively inspire and impact the lives of the people including the recently signed new co-sponsorship agreement between GIZ and the European Union toward enhancing the regional approach to the Kimberly process and searching for alternative livelihood for artisanal miners and their communities.
Giving an overview of the MRU was the Deputy Secretary General Dr. AbubarkaTarawalie. He said among other things that the MRU is an inter-governmental institution created on 3rd October, 1973 by the Malema Declaration, signed by President William Tolbert of the Republic of Liberia and President Siaka Stevens of the Republic of Sierra Leone. “The Union was originally created as a Customs Union with the objective to facilitate the free movement of persons and goods between Liberia and Sierra Leone. The organization aims to strengthen the capacity of member states to integrate their economies and coordinate development programs in the areas of peace building, as a prerequisite to any development, trade promotion, development of industry, energy, agriculture, natural resources, transport and telecommunications, monetary and financial affairs, and all aspects of economic and social life of member states,” he informed his audience.
He added that against that background, “the MRU Secretariat was accordingly mandated by the May Summit to pursue the revival, growth, socio-economic development and integration of the sub-region within the framework of 4 pillars namely: institutional revitalization and restructuring, peace and security, economic development and regional integration, and social development.”