Sirleaf Names First Ministers In New Liberia Govt

Nobel laureate Johnson Sirleaf was sworn in for a second term in power this week under pressure to step up her fight against corruption and do more to cut poverty in a nation that is rich in minerals but remains fragile, nine years after the war ended.

Amara Konneh, former minister for planning, was named the new finance minister, replacing Augustine Ngafuan, who takes over the Foreign Affairs Ministry, according to a statement.

Brownie Samukai will remain defence minister, tasked with the job over overseeing reforms to the security sector as U.N. peacekeepers start winding down their mission.

Johnson Sirleaf also replaced the information minister but the rest of the cabinet is due to be named later.

U.N. peacekeepers have overseen the country’s security since the end of some 14 years of war in 2003. But the world body is under pressure to end the costly, 9,000-strong mission.

However, analysts and U.N. officials have repeatedly warned against too hasty a withdrawal as the country’s progress remains fragile and the vote exposed tensions over the slow pace of progress, especially finding jobs for the youth.