Diplomatic Corporate Dialogue on Development
NEW YORK, APRIL 3, 2008:-The Liberian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador M. Nathaniel Barnes has extended a standing invitation to Ambassadors at the U.N. Headquarters, investment fund managers and foundations to review and comment upon his Proposed Alternative Development Model which draws heavily upon members of the Liberian Diaspora as potential investors for development of Liberia.
From left to right: (1) Ambassador Barnes addressing the forum (2) A cross-section of the audience at the D-C Dialogue on Development Forum
(3) United Nations Secretary General's Special Adviser on Africa, Cheick Sidi Diarra, also addressing the forum
Ambassador Barnes delivered his invitation at “An Evening of Diplomatic-Corporate Dialogue on Development” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The format for the evening was a smooth blend of the formal and the informal: beginning with a brainstorming session before the roll-out of the model and testimonies on the role of the various Diasporas in investment for development in countries such as, Zambia, Bangladesh, the Bahamas and Nicaragua. U.N. Ambassadors from these countries presented thought-provoking analyses of their Diasporas and their contribution or potential contribution to development in their respective regions or countries. Significant corporate presence included the Greylock Capital Management Firm, BASF Corporation, Coca Cola and the Hinduja Group. Foundations such as the Purdue Foundation and international non-governmental organizations such as the International Crisis Group and Conservation International were also represented. Guests had the opportunity to respond to select presentations when questions and comments were invited from the audience.
Ambassador Barnes, who was introduced by Mr. Bennett Yalartia, Senior Policy Advisor to the Permanent Mission of Liberia, told more than 100 guests that countries such as Liberia have a dire need for capital influx from investors, especially from the Diaspora which has several advantages over official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI). Investments from the Diaspora can provide a more stable capital flow, are non-debt generating and are free of stringent conditions. If managed properly, they can exhibit low volatility and no negative effects on the export sector.
|From left to right, David Schneider, Senior Executive, the Coca Cola Company; Dr Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Max Stamper, The Maxim News Network and Ambassador M. Nathaniel Barnes
||Ambassador Barnes posing with more distinguished guests: Amb. Ismat Jahan, Bangladesh; Amb. Lalzarous Kapambwe, Zambia; Amb. Paulette Bethel, Bahamas;Chris Merigini of Western Africa Magazine, U.K. and Amb. Maria Rubiales de Chamorro, Nicaragua|
The Liberian Diplomat, who has a background in finance, under-scored the need for national policy-makers and private sector stakeholders to establish and implement structural mechanisms to harness the Diaspora in a long-term partnership to develop Liberia. In this regard, the key will be to build a solid partnership with those in the Diaspora who are willing to invest in Liberia given the proper investment conditions and government incentives.
The highlight of the evening was the enthusiastic feedback from a wide range of guests including Roy Innis, civil rights activist and strong supporter of peace and development in Africa and Julian Menken, President of Cruise Market, Inc., who commended Liberia for this initiative citing the success of Israel in tapping the Jewish Diaspora and offering scholarships for Liberian students at the Maritime College, State University of New York.
Vigorous discussion was stimulated by presentations and remarks by Ambassador of Zambia, Lalzarous Kapambwe; Ambassador of Bangladesh, Ismat Jahan; Ambassador of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Paulette A. Bethel; Ambassador of Nicaragua, Maria Rubiales de Chamorro; President of Greylock Capital Management, LLC. Hans Humes; Attorney-at-law with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton, LLP. Lee Buchheit; Vice President of Conservation International, Frank Hawkins and United Nations Secretary General's Special Adviser on Africa, Ambassador Cheick Sidi Diarra.
Introductory Remarks by Ambassador Barnes at the D-C Development Conference