Modi wishes Liberian president on her birthday

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the India-Africa Forum Summit on Thursday, took the opportunity to be the first to wish Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on her birthday.

“African struggles and sacrifices are upholding democracy, combating extremism and empowering women. Women now constitute around 20 percent of the elected members of parliament in Africa,” Modi said as he delivered the inaugural address.

Leaders and dignitaries of 54 African countries participated in the third India-Africa Forum Summit meeting here.

“To one who has played a role in that, President Sirleaf, I extend our best wishes on your birthday today,” he said.

Born on October 29, 1938 in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, Sirleaf turned 77 on Thursday.

In 2011, she, along with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.

In 2013, Sirleaf was conferred the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize by President Pranab Mukherjee.

She has been serving as the president of Liberia since January 18, 2006.

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