Liberia has first female President
January 20, 2006

Liberia has first female President

Newly inaugurated Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has announced the first appointments to her government.

They include a former World Bank colleague in the key job of finance minister, and a rival presidential candidate at the Education Ministry.

Africa’s first elected female leader is an economist, and in political exile held jobs with the IMF and World Bank.

Bringing in Antoinette Sayeh to run the Finance Ministry has delighted international financial institutions.{{more}}

The World Bank representative in Monrovia, Mats Karlsson, said Ms Sayeh was an excellent economist who would bring absolute probity to the job of finance minister, and who understood the operations of the international community.

In her inaugural address, immediately after being sworn in as president, Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf pledged to fight corruption, and committed Liberia to a controversial economic plan, which will entail a high level of foreign supervision of its finances.

In that speech, she also urged her former opponents to join her in developing the country.

Now she has brought one of them, Joseph Korto, into her government as minister of education, a post for which he is also qualified by a long career as an educator.

Other appointments include the human rights activist, Kofi Woods, who campaigned against the excesses of her predecessor, Charles Taylor, at labour, and a journalist turned businessmen, Willis Knuckles, at public works.

Other appointments – including the foreign and home affairs ministers – will be announced later. (BBC)