The West African nation of Liberia has appointed a new honorary consul general to serve the state of Georgia.
Cynthia B. Nash, CEO of Atlanta-based trade and non-profit consultancy Global Strategies for Good LLC, will officially assume her new post at a commissioning ceremony at the World Trade Center Atlanta on Monday, Aug. 31.
Ms. Nash replaces Walter Young, who had represented Liberia in the state since 1985. He is the brother of former United Nations Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young,
Ms. Nash's official jurisdiction will be the state of Georgia, but she will also handle consular services including visas for Liberian citizens throughout the Southeast. In addition, she will have the authority to grant visas necessary for Americans to travel to Liberia.
Visas will be a growing need as Liberia's economy improves, especially if Delta Air Lines Inc. begins its proposed flight to the country, she said.
“The hope is that with the debt relief that Liberia has received and also with the direct flight coming from Delta Air Lines, we need more boots on the ground in this country,” she said. “We need to help build the capacity to handle the number of visas that are required and requested.”
Delta announced last November that it would launch flights from Atlanta to Monrovia, Liberia's capital, via Sal Island, Cape Verde, on June 8, but the U.S. Transportation Security Administration denied the route, citing security issues at the Monrovia airport.
Ms. Nash, said she has been in discussions with Delta as well as airport authorities in Liberia. She noted that requisite airport improvements are under way and that she expects TSA to grant approval in time for the flight to launch by the beginning of next year.
A week after her appointment becomes official, Ms. Nash will lead a weeklong trade mission that will allow 15 companies and non-governmental organizations to meet government officials in Monrovia.
She told GlobalAtlanta that Liberia offers a variety of opportunities for American entrepreneurs as well as chances for the more than 20,000 Liberians in Georgia to have an economic impact in their home country.
The country has recovered from a civil war that raged from 1997-2003. Since President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf took office in 2005, the country has been stable, Ms. Nash said. While its economy has seen some growth, the country still needs to boost foreign trade and investment in infrastructure.
“We are really about opening up trade and investment in Liberia,” she said.
Among Liberia's potential exports to Georgia are rubber for Newell-Rubbermaid products, coffee for local cafes and timber for Home Depot Inc., she said.
Georgia companies and educational institutions could help with agribusiness projects, raw materials for construction or technology development, she said.
Ms. Nash will also work toward cultural programs that promote the history of Liberia and its ties with the U.S. Liberia was originally founded in 1820 as a U.S. colony to allow freed slaves and their descendants to return to the African continent. It became an independent republic in 1847, basing its constitution on the U.S. system and naming its capital, Monrovia, after James Monroe, America's fifth president and a proponent of the colony.
"There is a long history in this country and it needs to be lifted up and celebrated," Ms. Nash said.
For more information on Ms. Nash's consular duties or the Aug. 31 event, contact Ms. Nash at (678) 612-2192.