From l-r: VP Howard-Taylor, Former Malawian President Banda

Former Malawian president Madam Joyce Hilda Banda has urged Liberia’s current Vice President, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor to continue the legacies of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

In a recent meeting between both women held in Malawi, Banda admonished VP Howard-Taylor to carry what she called the mantle of the champion of women empowerment in Africa, with the energy and tenacity required; also urging that Chief Howard-Taylor continues the legacies of Liberia’s ex-President Johnson-Sirleaf.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf began Africa and Liberia’s first democratically elected female head of state in 2005, and she went on to win a second six-year term in 2011. Although, during her reign, there were reports of rampant corruption and semblance of bad governance, her administration succeeded in setting back on course the war-battered country; with the Sirleaf administration stabilizing Liberia’s economy to an appreciable level, instituting several public sector reforms and establishing several integrity institutions.

At the end of a five-day working visit to Malawi recently, Vice President Howard-Taylor paid Malawi’s first female President Banda a private visit, at which time both ladies held frank exchanges under friendly atmosphere as the Liberian vice president listened to the wise counsel of the former President of Malawi, according to a statement from the office of VP Howard-Taylor.

Banda was president of Malawi from 7 April 2012 to 31 May 2014. She is the founder and leader of Malawi’s People’s Party, created in 2011.

She is an educator and grassroots women’s rights activist, she was her country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006-09 and the Vice President of Malawi from May 2009 to April 2012.

She took office as President following the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. She was Malawi’s fourth presidentand its first female president and second female head of state after Eliozabeth II. Banda was the second woman to become president in the African continent, after Liberia’s Sirleaf.

In a post on Facebook Banda wrote: “Today, June 11, I received in audience Dr Jewel Taylor, the Vice President of Liberia who is in Malawi on a private visit.”

While displaying photos of she and VP Taylor, Banda further wrote: “We looked back at many years of working together on women’s empowerment and girls’ education. One other common area is our love for Jesus.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Chief Dr. Howard-Taylor has held discussions with Press Trust, a public firm responsible to attract investors to Malawi.

At the heart of the discussions was the need to collaborate with the Government of Liberia (GoL) in energy, telecommunications, manufacturing and agriculture.

Press Trust is Malawi’s largest employer which mobilizes resources from the private sector to fund government projects in order to provide social services.

The Liberian vice president emphasized President Weah’s pronouncement that Liberia is opened for business while signing a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding which provides the framework for economic cooperation between Liberia and Malawi. 

In the exploration for more investment opportunities for Liberia, VP Howard-Taylor held meeting with the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), on the possibilities of partnering in the area of agriculture.

NASFAM is involved in the production of rice, tobacco, groundnut and other crops for exportation.

Vice President Howard-Taylor intimated that the technological innovation of NASFAM can be of major significance to Liberia as the GoL endeavors to use agriculture in alleviating poverty.

She stressed that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement can provide the framework and opportunity for Africans to begin trading amongst themselves. 

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