“Appointment” At Liberian Embassy In Washington DC; Embassy Unaware

Washington DC and Monrovia – April 2, 2019: Reports are coming into West African Journal Magazine of the consideration of appointment of a non-experienced Liberian diplomat at a strategic international diplomatic  location.

Ms. Anita Jallah

According to a source at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia, the daughter of a senior Protocol Officer in the Liberian Presidency Norah Finda Bundoo is being preferred for the position of Third Secretary at the Liberian Embassy in Washington DC.  Her name is Anita D. Jallah. The 20 year old is a recent graduate of the St Teresa’s Convent Catholic High School in Monrovia and has no professional experience in diplomacy.

Social Media Profile of Anita Jallah

On her social media page, she identifies herself Anita Ramelavanitaspendid Jallah – CEO AT Awesomely Spendid.

According to the source, Ms. Jallah left the country about a month ago to take up assignment at the Embassy in Washington. She was picked up at the airport taken to the Embassy and briefly introduced to mission staff but has not been seen since. She had also been seconded at the Liberian mission in New York prior.

The source explained that her position falls within the category of those non-career appointees who are conferred diplomatic status to facilitate their work.

If approved, Ms. Jallah will enjoy diplomatic privileges.

In keeping with the Vienna Convention, the U.S. State Department, the receiving State, has to be informed of the arrival of a member of the Liberian diplomatic mission Washington DC. It is not yet known if the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia has formally notified the U.S. State Department of Ms. Jallah taking up assignment.

The recruitment for the position of Third Secretary at the Embassy is the first step towards a more senior position.

Embassy of Liberia In Washington DC

The Liberian Diplomatic mission in Washington DC, in a statement to the West African Journal Magazine Tuesday, said it was not aware of the assignment of Ms. Jallah nor does she work there at present.

There has been no confirmation of the assignment of Ms. Jallah from the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.

By Our Diplomatic Correspondents in Monrovia and Washington DC

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia Cancels $80K Lobbying Contract With US Based Firm; Owes Firm Owner

New York, New York USA – March 14, 2019: A lobbying and public relations agreement with a New York based government and public relations firm in the United States has been unilaterally cancelled by the Government of Liberia.

The Friedlander Group Logo
The Friedlander Group Logo

In an interview on Thursday with West African Journal Magazine, Mr. Ezra Friedlander, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of the Friedlander Group, disclosed that he no longer represents the Liberian Government and that his representation ended in the first quarter of 2018.

According to Mr. Friedlander, he was informed by former Liberian U.S. Ambassador Lois Brutus that the Government of Liberia was no longer interested. An agreement between the Liberian Government and the Friedlander Group was signed on February 5, 2018.

The agreement stipulated that the “ Friedlander Group will organize the establishment of the Friends of Liberia Congressional Caucus that would act as the “voice” of the nation of Liberia in coordination with the Embassy of Liberia to provide, translate and highlight the Pro-Poor Agenda of the Government of Liberia.”

Part of the effort of the lobbying agreement stated, “ It is discussed and agreed that the Caucus Chairs will extend an invitation to by the Caucus as well as facilitate an official White House invitation to President George M. Weah to visit Washington on a State, official or working visit by mid-year 2018…”

Friedlander CEO Ezra Friedlander and Former US Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton - File PhotoThe CEO of the Friedlander Group said his organization had begun lobbying work and even established a bi-partisan group of Congressional Caucus known as “Friends of Liberia” and that a date, hall and time of the announcement of the launch was scheduled to be made in Washington DC when he received word from the Liberian Embassy to halt everything. Mr. Friedlander said it was explained to him that the decision of the Liberian Government to halt the official launch of the Caucus was due to “technical issues” such as inability of members of the Liberian Senate to attend due to visa issues in Liberia.

Influential bi-partisan members of the U.S. Congressional Caucus would have organized meetings with their Liberian counterparts, as part of the lobbying efforts which were to be undertaken by the Friedlander Group, the agreement said.

He said he was only paid $20,000 out of the $80,000 agreed payment and the Government of Liberia has refused to pay the balance after abrogating the contract. Mr. Friedlander said he decided not to pursue legal suit against the Liberian Government because of his deep admiration for the people and country.

According to the CEO of the Friedlander Group, during negotiations for the lobbying contract, former Ambassador Brutus explained that Liberia was not an affluent country and needed help on the contract fee and the two parties settled on a fee of $80,000 for the duration of the contract which was for a year and half of lobbying work beginning in 2018.

He dismissed any assertion that the contract was worth millions of dollars.

Mr. Friedlander said his firm would have engaged the U.S. Government on the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)expiration which thousands of Liberians are current facing come March 31, 2019. His firm was prepared to make the case to Congressional Caucus members to assist Liberia as part of its “moral obligation”, given the historical ties that both the U.S. and Liberia share.

He said it was his hope that the GOL would re-consider its decision to abrogate the public relations and lobbying contract and re-engage with his firm in-order to begin the process of helping Liberia reach out to influential members of Congress. According to Mr. Friedlander, this was a “missed” opportunity for Liberia.

Ezra Friedlander Meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.pngLieThe Friedlander Group represents over a dozen profit and non for profit entities in the legislative, world, city, state and federal levels. The firm recently met in Cairo with Egyptian President and current Chairman of the African Union Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

According to the Open Secrets.org website, The Friedlander Group in 2018 raked in $71,800 with the highest income from Liberia for $40,000. Documents in the possession of West African Journal Magazine show that the Government of Liberia spent $10.29 million in 2017 and $4.5 million in 2018 on Lobbying efforts in the U.S. but it is unclear what the tangible returns were for the poor West African country for payments of such amounts.

The lack of strategic inroad in the Trump Administration  explains why Liberians have been questioning the “delay” in President Weah’s official visit to the United States since his inauguration in January, 2018. Liberians and supporters of the CDC led government view such a visit as one visible signal of support for the Weah Administration.

The Friendlander Group Documentation
The Friendlander Group Documentation

There were several hints of pending official visit of the Liberian President to the White House last year which ultimately did not materialize and it is unclear when such a visit would occur and under what conditions.

Economic and scandalous financial challenges are now dogging the Weah Administration which is struggling to attract much needed international assistance and investors.

 By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

U.S. Based Liberian Engineer Appointed to Rowan University Technology Dept.

Philadelphia, PA USA- January 5, 2019: A Liberian Engineering professional has been named to administer the Mechanical Engineering Technology Rowan College Burlington County, RCBC, New Jersey.

Rowan University Seal
Rowan University Seal

Mr. Dave B. Wilson Sr. who resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a long background in Engineering and education and has demonstrated success and breadth of knowledge in engineering to include mechanical, electronics, telecommunications, and Automation.

Based on his vast wealth of knowledge, the Liberian engineer has also been leveraging his expertise and leadership ability to drive renewable energy in solar, wind and initiatives in parts of Africa over the last few years.  Prior to his appointment and since 2016, Dave has served as an adjunct faculty in Mechatronics Engineering at the Community College of Philadelphia Workforce and Economic Innovation Department.

He participated as a lecturer at a bilateral human capacity development training effort sponsored by the United Nations (UN) in solar technology at the University of Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, College of Natural & Computational Sciences setting up the original renewable energy hub for that region of Africa (a three-month program 2017). Before that, he was  the Acting Dean of Academic Affairs at ITT Technical Institute in Liverpool, New York, USA from February to September, 2016.

Dave B. Wilson Sr
Dave B. Wilson Sr.

Dave is a one- time Department Chair of the School of Computer Electronics Engineering Technology (CEET) in Marlton, New Jersey  between March 2014 and February 2016) and was and adjunct Professor in Electrical Engineering Department at the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in Mercer County, New Jersey between May 2013 and December 2017.

Professional credit also goes to Dave’s leadership roles at a number of prestigious U.S. corporations including T-Mobile and Global Networks Telecommunications GNT with increasing responsibilities on the T-Mobile Nation Wide Modernization Project between July 2013 to January 2014 During this time he worked leveraging technology to increase profits, productivity, and competitive edge while delivering significant reductions in the cost of doing business for the organizations.

In Liberia, West Africa, he served as broadcast engineer for the Liberian Broadcasting System (ELBS), and “Radio VERITAS between 1993 to 1999.

Currently on a sabbatical from his doctoral studies, the newly appointed Rowan administrator holds the following engineering credentials:

  1. Master’s degree in Electronics Engineering from Khmelnitsky University in Ukraine, Eastern Europe.
  2. MBA in Information System Management from Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  3. Presently serving an Academy break, the Ph.D. program in Engineering Management at Walden University, USA.
  4. Diplomas including Ericsson Civil Training (ECT) Parsippany – New Jersey; Project Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Bucks County Community College, Global Human Rights Leadership Training Institute (GHRLTI), Lagos, Nigeria, and Aquila Broadcasting Sets, Rome – Italy and several industry certifications and diplomas including Ericsson Civil Training (ECT), Project Management, Cisco Network Engineering, Broadcast Technology Engineering, and others.
Rowan University
Rowan University

U.S. News & World Report ranks Rowan University 19th of Northern Regional Universities and third among the public institutions in the category. The College of Engineering, at which Dave is now a member, is ranked 32nd nationally among master’s level programs and the Chemical Engineering program is ranked third.

West African Journal Magazine

 

 

U.S. Govt Exempts 48 African Countries From Solar Import Tariffs

Following its  imposition of 30% tariffs on solar cells and modules, the Trump Administration has announced an updated list of countries which are exempt from the measure.

Map- Africa
Map- Africa

48 Africa countries were listed as exempt from the newly announced trade tariffs.

American companies had been pressuring the federal government to take action against what they call cheap solar products  from foreign countries in the renewable energy industry such a solar panels, farms and washing machines. They say their operations have been negatively impacted. There is, however, mixed reaction from some U.S. renewable energy companies to the imposition of the steep tariffs by the Trump Administration, saying this will drive up the price for consumers.

South Korean washing machine companies and some solar energy companies in China have sought to relocate to circumvent the tariffs.

China and South Korea are major players in the solar industry and washing machines products. Economists predict that the imposition of the tariffs will increase trade tensions and  protectionism. Candidate Trump in his “America First” populism message promised that he would address U.S. trade inequalities especially with China whom he described as a “currency manipulator.”

Solar-Panels
Solar-Panels

But  it is still unclear why such a huge number of African countries were included on the list for the imposition of the tariffs  in the first place since most, if not all of them, are not exporters of renewal energy products or washing machines to the United States; nor have they played host to companies manufacturing of Chinese or Korean solar panel or washing machine.

List of Exempt African Countries:

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzavile), Congo (Kinshasa), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia,  Gabon and The Gambia

Others are Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine