George Weah gave his first public address as Liberia’s president-elect Saturday, informing potential investors that the nation is “open and ready for business” and calling on Liberians who live abroad to come home.
The former international soccer star spoke at Coalition for Democratic Change party headquarters, where he vowed to tackle corruption and asked members of his party to applaud the Liberians who elected him.
Weah won Tuesday’s runoff with 61.5 percent of the vote over Vice President Joseph Boakai, who got 38.5 percent, according to final results.
Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves, is seeing its first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years as Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf steps aside. Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president, led the country’s recovery after back-to-back civil wars and saw it through a deadly Ebola outbreak.
“Two days ago the world saw me cry, not because I won, but for the lives of partisans who lost their lives in the struggle for change,” Weah said after being introduced by his running mate, Vice President-elect Jewel Howard-Taylor.
Weah honored Sirleaf, calling her “the Iron Lady of Africa” and promising to “build upon the institutional gains” her administration has made.
Weah also paid tribute to Boakai, calling him “a statesman and neighbor.”
He called on Liberians living abroad to “come home; this is a new dispensation.” He also called for foreign investments as the flow of aid to Liberia is in decline.
He said;“To investors, we say Liberia is open and ready for business.”