Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai spoke to about 60 students and members of the community Sunday afternoon about the prospects for rebuilding the war-ravaged West African country. After the speech, he sat down with The Herald to discuss the future of his country.
Herald: Earlier this week you called on the United Nations to create a special envoy on women. Why? What do you envision this envoy's job description would be?
Boakai: What we're trying to say is that we do believe that women are underrepresented. We believe that we need to raise their status now, because they are mostly the victims of these conflicts.
You studied at Kansas State University on a scholarship from USAID and later worked for the World Bank.
Do you believe institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and USAID primarily serve the interests of developing countries or of rich ones?
Well, at some point in time we thought their programs were not really serving the critical needs of developing countries.
The results that they yielded in the past were far from meeting the needs of developing countries, but today we are experiencing programs that are very strategic.
After many, many years of their intervention we still have a lot of problems in developing countries, so we believe that they could do better.
What will be the consequences for Liberia if your country does not receive further debt relief from its creditors?
I wouldn't like to think in that direction.
But I do believe this is something we need because right now whatever we're doing, we're doing it from a very, very low revenue base, and so debt relief will enable us to borrow and undertake critical projects like infrastructure.
What do you hope will be the outcome of Charles Taylor's trial at the International Criminal Court?
The good old book says you reap what you sow. I'm sure if you sew something good you'll reap something good.
I look forward to him being justly handled.