His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor has been bestowed the highest honour of the Republic of Liberia, ‘The Collar of State – Most Venerable Order of the Pioneers,’ at a ceremony in Monrovia on August ….

The President of Liberia, George Weah, conferred the honour on him at a ceremony to mark that country’s 171st National Flag Day.

The award is in recognition of the former president’s commitment to socio-economic development in Ghana during his tenure from 2001-2008 and his efforts in the restoration of lasting peace to Liberia. The celebration also coincided with the 15th anniversary of the Accra Accord, a deal brokered H.E. Kufuor as ECOWAS president, to end decades of armed conflict in Liberia.

In response, His Excellency Kufuor thanked the president and people of Liberia for their generosity.

‘President George Weah has seen it fit to call me here and bestow this very high honour on me. I feel a real duty to stand before all of you to say a great thank you to the president and the entire nation of reborn Liberia,” H.E. Kufuor said.

President Weah, in reading the citation which accompanied the award said:

“Under [President Kufuor’s] ingenious leadership, marked socio-economic development was recorded in Ghana; notably, pioneering of the National Health Insurance Scheme which benefited more than eleven million Ghanaians; construction and operationalisation of more than 200 hospitals and clinics; introduction of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Program (LEAP) which provided cash transfers to poor households in the country; among others.

As president of Ghana and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government, you oversaw Liberia peace efforts and coordinated with the parties to the Liberian conflict culminating in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which laid the roadmap for the successful restoration of peace and stability of Liberia.

The Government and people of Liberia owe you a debt of gratitude for the sustained fraternal bond of friendship you exhibited and your continued positive role in promoting peace and development in Liberia, has won for you a special place in the hearts of Liberians.”

H.E. Kufuor was instrumental in the bringing the second Liberian Civil War to a definitive end in 2003. As the then Chairman of ECOWAS, H.E. Kufour oversaw Liberia’s peace efforts and brokered a peace deal with the various factions which ended in the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord.

The accord laid the roadmap for the lasting restoration of peace and stability in Liberia, which still endures today.

The order, ‘The Collar of State – Most Venerable Order of the Pioneers,’ was created in 1955 by the Liberian legislature. The highest honour, is to “to commemorate the memory of  Sainted Pioneer Fathers and Mothers…inspire by continuing references to their great deeds, in the hearts of all living Liberians a deep and abiding love of their country”

President Weah also conferred the “Knight Commander-Humane Order of African Redemption” upon Sir Arsene Charles Ernest Wenger, Former Coach of Arsenal and Mr. Claude Marie Francois Le Roy, Coach of the Togolese National Team respectively.