Why Liberia Needs Economic and Commercial Diplomacy in Post-Ebola Era

first_imgThe post Ebola epoch presents an challenge for the three most affected countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to refocus their diplomacy and put their diplomats to work, as these countries especially Liberia seeks international partners as the country emerges from an idle and desperate economic situation which has been paralyzed due to the scourge. Liberia would not have received the worldwide benevolence it got if not for apt diplomatic initiatives and had serious negotiations not taken place sometimes long hours into the night, as perceptively as possible with grinding efforts, employing the tools of diplomacy for national advancement.That is why those tasked with economic and political activities at embassies must be sharp, cognizant of global prevailing dynamics and the dealings meant to shape policy and bring about the desired results; keep check of the financial and political movers and shakers, be well-schooled and knowledgeable of the subtleties of economic and commercial diplomacy which encourages greater cooperation and relations that protects investment and bilateral ties between two states or among multinational conglomerates.A diplomat, according to customary norms, should be acknowledgeable of other states, regions, and of the mechanisms and procedures of international intercourses which involves knowledge of the world network of diplomatic missions and consular posts, their functions, their practices and structures. As an added advantage, a diplomat should be verse in crisis management and damage control and, as far as possible as well must be rounded in his duties.The former Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dr. Henry Kissinger, have written in detailed, that in the formulation of foreign policy, it is obvious that the economic and trade diplomacy are inseparable elements of conventional diplomacy, particularly in its professional management. Dr. Kissinger’s experiences and works are certainly recommended readings for foreign policy students.The Liberian experience cannot be discounted in these narratives. Astute diplomacy for example was needed and still continues to in the post Ebola and war Western African country. In relations to what has already been said; that after the Liberian civil war, as warlord turned president, Charles Taylor had balkanized and ran the country into the ground, and more so diplomatically, given his mischievous political and military adventurism especially in the sub region. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her foreign relations team acted quickly and were able to, since 2005, use the international order to rebrand Liberia’s image, both economically and tactfully to garner foreign and international goodwill and investments, hence pivoting the country on the international stage as Liberia transitioned from war to peace. In a true sagacity, President Sirleaf and her youthful Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, and his team should be lauded. Undoubtedly, economic, trade and commercial diplomacy should be paramount to Liberia’s project and that requires a strong background of diplomacy from a multidisciplinary perspective. Professional diplomacy is an appropriate instrument to perform this synthesis, to the extent that it can use its persuasive techniques in favor of businesses and investments and, simultaneously, prove to be politically and economically profitable to the state.However, it is clear that economic and commercial interests, particularly those related to investment, exports, protection and assistance could be essential aspects of the diplomatic activities of a considerable number of countries especially Liberia. Actually, economic and trade diplomacy involves joint and just efforts through cooperation between governments and the private and public business sectors with respect to external actions to achieving economic goals linked to the national interests.Another fascinated field of diplomacy especially for underdeveloped countries such as Liberia is economic, trade and commercial diplomacy. In contemporary diplomacy, the issues of economic interests, trade, protection of nationals, and security have all become much more difficult, with major challenges affecting the practices of diplomacy being influenced by major actors and powerful states, and sometimes at the continued loss of global, continental and regional groupings. Other factors such as bad political decisions in domestic politics, economic growth, and technological development, corruption among others have greatly affected African diplomacy in time past, even so now today!Vividly, I can remember the famous words of my professor during my studies in Paris, France when he stressed that diplomats should be fully aware of the new insightful changes in international relations and be able to partner major institutions and influential businesses [companies] in the host countries to enhance economic growth, trade and investment back home. A diplomat should also possess specialist qualities such as: political awareness, economic and trade knowledge, personal acceptability, education, intellectual curiosity and flexibility, and not just sit and wait to be tele-guided. A diplomat should level up fully to the new trends of diplomatic behaviors and challenges, taking into consideration the contemporary complexities of the international system, in which multiplicity of major actors operate, which stresses new approaches and solutions for a new demanding world order.In order for a Foreign Service officer including ambassadors to gain respect on the global stage also, there must be a taste and desire to seek new knowledge by reading and conducting research about the host country to which he is assigned; he must also be aware that contemporary diplomacy goes beyond mere curtails and red wine. Hence, diplomacy must not be seen as money making venture to enrich oneself and family against the greater good of society.Diplomacy has brought development to other nations for example as already enumerated and economic and trade values as seen in varied negotiations with bilateral and multilateral bodies, as the Liberian case illustrates, as well as increased economic and commercial activity. As part of the State’s foreign policy, economic diplomacy and trade are now being given greater priority; these areas are now key factors in the development of contemporary international politics.It is also essential to ensure greater consistency in the identification of sustained national economic interests abroad and, through careful analysis, developed a model that can effectively ensure a safety pin to guide economic diplomacy in carrying out external economic relations by appointing people who are intellectually efficient and knowledgeable in the field of their calling, hence, diplomats should be appointed to assignments or missions where they can be operatively successful, as they serve the interest efficiently of their respective countries.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Red Sox, Astros wrap up wild cards

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Just when it looked as though the playoff picture might remain muddled for days, everything was settled on the final afternoon of the regular season. The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros wrapped up the wild cards Sunday, clinching the final two major league playoff spots. All the matchups were set for the 2005 postseason, starting Tuesday with the National League West champion San Diego Padres playing in St. Louis at 10:09 p.m. PDT. Houston will open Wednesday in Atlanta against the NL East champion Braves, coming off their 14th consecutive division title. It’s a rematch of their first-round series last year, won by Roger Clemens and the Astros in five games. “I’m very thankful. It was some rocky roads, roller-coaster rides throughout the season,” pitcher Andy Pettitte said after a 6-4 victory over the Cubs allowed Houston to finish one game ahead of Philadelphia. The Phillies did all they could to force a tiebreaker playoff, beating Washington 9-3 for a weekend sweep, but still fell short. Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox earned the American League wild-card berth for the third consecutive season, the same spot that started them toward their first World Series championship in 86 years. In fact, a wild-card team has won the past three titles. The defending champs clinched when Cleveland, the only other team that had a shot at the wild card, lost 3-1 at home to the White Sox, who swept the three-game series. The defeat concluded a crushing final week for the young Indians (93-69), who dropped six of their last seven games. “We ended like we started,” closer Bob Wickman said in a somber Cleveland clubhouse. “We came up one game short. But the guys should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished.” Boston’s first-round series against the AL Central champion White Sox starts Tuesday at 1:09 p.m. in Chicago. The White Sox finished with the best record in the league at 99-63 and will be trying to win their first postseason series since the 1917 World Series. last_img read more

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