Viewing cable 09MONROVIA103
Title: LIBERIA: AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF MONROVIA (FOR

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09MONROVIA1032009-02-02 17:06:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Monrovia
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UNCLAS MONROVIA 000103 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
PLEASE PASS OPIC FOR JAMIE EKERN 
 
E.O.12958: N/A 
TAGS: EINV EFIN ETRD ECON OPIC LI
SUBJECT: LIBERIA:  AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF MONROVIA (FOR 
OPIC) 
 
¶1. (SBU) The American International School of Monrovia (AISM) was 
established in 2007 with the strong encouragement and support of 
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  The GOL provided the land and 
building, and sees AISM as an essential element in creating a 
climate that will facilitate foreign investment and return of 
Diaspora Liberians.  The USG supports the school as an aspect of 
"normalization" that will permit Embassy Monrovia to return to being 
an accompanied post.  (Note: Currently only adult dependents are 
permitted at post. End note.)  The GOL remains strongly committed to 
the success of the school. 
 
¶2.  Future growth depends on an increase in school-age children with 
the financial resources to afford AISM's fees.  Realistically, that 
pool includes expatriates transferred to Liberia by their employers, 
Liberians who decide to return to Liberia from successful careers in 
the United States, and, eventually, Embassy families.  There is also 
potential for growth from families currently resident in Liberia who 
have their children in other private schools.  The number of 
students increased from 41 in the first year to 63 at the start of 
2007-08.  We have heard from current AISM parents that the school's 
successful two-year track record has inspired confidence, and PTA 
members expect an increase in enrollment from students now in other 
schools. 
 
¶3.  Liberia's economy continues to grow despite the global financial 
crisis.  According to National Investment Commission figures, 
investment grew 36% in 2008 compared to the previous year and 
concession agreements signed this year have already exceeded the 
2008 mark.  Liberia is entering the sixth peaceful year peaceful 
post-conflict and growing confidence among Liberians in the Sirleaf 
administration's policies is reflected in a surge in domestic 
building, farming and other investment. 
 
¶4. AISM's future is bright but the school does face short-term 
challenges.  Due to the strong pressure from President Sirleaf the 
school's opening may have been slightly premature.  The previous 
Board made the ambitious decision to start as a pre-K through 9th 
grade school, which put a strain on teaching and other resources. 
AISM incurred extensive debt due to the need for pre-occupancy 
renovation of all aspects of the building except the concrete walls, 
and incurs high costs to self-generate power and provide security. 
Despite the financial challenges, it has benefited from strong 
parental commitment.  The new PTA is functioning well, and parents 
self-financed renovation and furniture for two additional classrooms 
in 2008. 
 
¶5. Post is not aware of any potential ties to terrorism, money 
laundering, corruption, or violations of law.  (Note:  AISM's 
charter requires that four of the nine members of the Board be 
Embassy direct hire employees.  Post's management officer is 
chairman of the AISM Board.  The Ambassador, RSO, and Econoff also 
serve on the Board.  End note.) 
 
¶6.  Comment:  AISM is a high priority for the USG, as demonstrated 
by active involvement by the current and former Ambassador on the 
AISM Board.  There is no alternative in Liberia for parents seeking 
an international-standard education.  The project has encountered 
challenges similar to those facing other new investment in Liberia 
but commitment by the stakeholders -- the parents -- is strong and 
growing. 
 
THOMAS-GREENFIELD