“More regrettably,” she added, “gains that are made by fragile countries such as Liberia are easily reversed as a result of inability to adequately intervene in emergencies timely enough due to lack of capacity.”
President Sirleaf said the cost to assist fragile countries build their emergency response preparedness would be far less, help to sustain peace and progress, and the quality of life of the people would be improved.
The Liberian leader was speaking when she served on a High-Level Panel convened by the World Bank Group (WBG) at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 8.
The panel, which deliberated on the theme: "Preventing Violent Conflict Through Development," was a major highlight of the 2016 World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings held October 7-9 in Washington.
Other panelists at the forum, moderated by BBC International Affairs Correspondent Kim Ghattas, were Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank; Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Eliasson; Norwegian Foreign Minister
Borge Brende; and Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed.
According to a dispatch from the Embassy of Liberia in the United States, international music superstar Bono of the legendary U2 rock band, a leading global crusader for the world's poor, also spoke as a panelist by video.
President Sirleaf expressed the need for the international community to seriously begin to consider how the private sector in fragile countries can also be supported to ensure their viability during times of emergency, given that the private sector is critical in terms of jobs and availability of service for the people.
The Liberian leader called on the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to provide more support to the private sector to avoid reverses in development in fragile countries in the event of public sector decline on account of disruptive change such as sharp decline in commodities.
President Sirleaf also reiterated a call that the U.N. should consider a percentage of assessed contributions for peacekeeping for program activities that can reduce fragility.
She lauded the World Bank, IMF and other international agencies for their support to Liberia, especially during recent emergencies.
She urged that lessons learned should guide the urgency to assist Liberia and other fragile countries in emergency preparedness through capacity building to empower the people to take ownership as the first line of defense.
The World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings are attended by finance ministers and central bank governors representing some 189 member countries.
Liberia's Finance and Development Planning Minister Boima S. Kamara, and Governor Milton A. Weeks of the Central Bank of Liberia, were in Washington for the WBG/IMF Meetings, also attended the High-Level Panel event.