Week Five

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The two countries I was assigned to explore were Liberia and Namibia. I did not know much about either country so I thought the best place to start would be to find out where they were located in Africa.

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Liberia has been in the media frequently latest due to the recent Ebola outbreak. In the video, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf discusses how the country is planning on controlling and fight the outbreak.

In a recent update, on September 30 it was confirmed by the CDC that a patient tested positive for the Ebola virus at a Dallas, Texas hospital.

Although Liberia has received negative attention in the media lately for its handling of the Ebola outbreak, President Sirleaf has done a tremendous amount of positive work for the country since her inauguration in 2006 and has acted as a true “cheetah” in her country.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th President of Liberia and the 1st elected female head of state.

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Through her hard work, integrity, and fight for rights for women and education, she has revitalized the national economy. She has also significantly reduced Liberia’s debt owed to other countries, including the United States who waived $391 million dollars of debt owed to them. Not only has she reduced the debt owed, she has brought in billions of dollars through work in mining, agriculture, and forestry.

Listed as Forbes 70th most powerful woman in the world, she truly puts her country first. In 2006, there was a fire in the executive mansion where she was living. Instead of spending money on repairs, she said that funding for the repairs was a low priority for Liberia as there were more pressing needs and instead moved into her personal home.

A graduate of Harvard University (see video below for Sirleaf’s 2011 Harvard Commencement speech), she has received a number of awards. In 2011, she was one of three recipients for the Nobel Peace Prize for nonviolence in women’ safety. In 2007, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. She was awarded the Global Citizen Movement Award for Gender Equality and the Entrepreneurship of the World Award in the in Policy Maker category in 2013.

Although President Sirleaf has made great strides in Liberia, there is still a long way to go. According to the Democracy Ranking 2013, Liberia ranked 74th which is seven higher than how they ranked in 2008. Namibia is slightly higher than Liberia with a ranking of 64th which has stayed fairly consistent over the past five years.

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