Richard Magnus Franz Morris

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Richard Magnus Franz Morris (Liberia, 15 June 1934 - 27 June 2012) was a Liberian business and civic leader.

Early life[edit]

Richard Magnus Franz Morris was born in Farmerville, Sinoe County on June 15, 1934.His Parents were descendants of Americo-Liberian families that settled in Sinoe County,Liberia.His Father was Jacob Franz Morris,a Liberian who settled in Greenville,Sinoe County.His Mother was Mary Emma Morris(a granddaughter of the late and former Vice President of Liberia Joseph J. Ross).Mary Emma Morris Father's family had settled in Farmerville,Sinoe County. Richard grew up in Greenville along with his siblings.Richard completed his early education in Greenville, Sinoe County and traveled to Monrovia to complete his high school education at the Lab High School (now known as William V.S Tubman High School).

Family life[edit]

Richard Magnus Morris married Lorraine V. Morris in 1964.This union was blessed with many children.They remained married for 48 years until his death on June 27, 2012.

Education[edit]

Richard Magnus Franz Morris received his bachelor of science degree in Mathematics from the University of Liberia in 1956 (His attendance was from 1952-1956). He left for Mainz, Germany immediately following graduation on a scholarship to attend Johannes Gutenbeg University of Mainz. He obtained a graduate diploma in Mathematics(Diplom Vorexamen) in 1963. Richard Magnus Franz Morris continued his studies through a Fulbright Scholarship at the Iowa State University, where he obtained a Master of Science in Economics, 1967. His thesis was entitled "An Economic and Institutional Analysis of the Nigerian Economy".

Career[edit]

Richard Magnus Franz Morris returned to Liberia where he worked at the Bureau of National Planning in 1967. Morris served as Director of Research, Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs from 1967 to 1970. His primary responsibility was to prepare and publish quantitative economic information on the economy of Liberia emphasizing the balance of payment account, public sector accounts, national accounts and foreign trade statistics. At the conference of All African Planners, Addis Ababa, (1967 – 1970) Morris was elected to the Governing Council of the United Nations Institute for Economic and Statistical Planning (IDEP), located in Dakar, Senegal.[citation needed]

Morris, in cooperation with the University of Liberia, authored working papers for International Development Conferences, held 1969 and 1971. The subject of these working papers was Development Objectives and Strategies. Some of these papers were published by the United Nations to use as literature for countries with developing economies.[citation needed]

Later, as Director of Research, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, Morris worked closely with the Harvard University Advisory Group which was attached to the Planning Ministry. This exposure led him to have an in depth understanding about developmental potentials and problems of Liberia.

In addition to his work for the Liberian Government, Morris taught Mathematics and Economics at the University of Liberia for fifteen years. He achieved the rank of Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Liberia.

Morris served the Liberian Government as Principal Deputy Minister of Commerce, Industry and Transportation from 1971 – 1975. His general duties were to ensure that the Ministry functioned in accordance with its objective - to both stimulate and regulate commerce, industry and transportation in Liberia. The essential organizational structure was developed and mainly recruited and trained to cope with the functional aspects of the Ministry. Such sections as foreign trade,standardization, price analysis, industrial supervision and development were either introduced or enhanced. An aviation training school was opened to give preliminary training to prospective commercial pilots. This led to a demanding training program of the Liberian airline pilots was launched. In addition to his regular duties, he also acted as Acting Minister in the absence of the Minister.

Morris was instrumental in the establishment of the Liberian Industrial Free Zone Authority (LIFZA) as a substitute for the small and growing market size in the domestic economy which is a constraint on mass scale production at a lower unit cost.

Morris also served as the Principle Negotiator of Lome 1, and as Vice Chairman of the Liberian Delegation to the European Economic Community (EEC), Brussels. He represented Liberia on the technical, ambassadorial and ministerial levels of negotiation with the ECC. This resulted in the Lome 1 convention-APC/EEC convention.

Morris became the first Director General of National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, 1976 to 1980.During this time,Richard Morris designed and implemented the module for the social insurance scheme.He also supervised the formation of policies and procedures for the Corporation.Richard Morris also performed concrete tasks necessary to protect and maintain the rights of participants in a social insurance program.He supervised the reforming of nine regional offices.Richard Morris also supervised the employment injury benefits covering over 100,000 employees.This position as Director General was terminated by the coup d'état which occurred on April 12, 1980.

In 1981, Morris left the governmental sector and continued his career as Managing Director of the Small Enterprise Financing Organization (SEFO). In 1986, he became President of the Small Enterprise Financing Organization. Some of his accomplishments included bringing together the founding shareholders of the company, both Liberian and foreign, to raise the capital to start up operations. Morris negotiated with several international agencies for further infusions of capital and loans on favorable terms, to permit and secure the SEFO’s expansion. He held this position until the First Liberian Civil War.

Richard Magnus Franz Morris,a graduate of the University of Liberia,Class of 1956, was installed as President of the Alumni Association for the University of Liberia on May 6, 1983(ULAA Re-awakening,Vol.1 No.1).He held this position from May 1983 until the Liberian Civil War in 1990.

Morris was also an active member of the Liberian branch of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship Internationalfrom 1984 to 1990. He served the fellowship in some leadership positions, which led to him becoming National President in 1987.

Morris served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation in 1989. He had the opportunity to redirect the National Social Security to its original path of purpose and accountability after the mismanagement that caused that nearly led the organization to bankruptcy. Morris travelled to the United States, Sweden and many West African Countries to observe Social Security programs and their implementation processes.

Beginning in 1992, Morris worked briefly as a consultant in Ghana before emigrating in 1994 to the United States to join his family.

While in the USA, Morris worked with Samuel Evans, Founder and Chairman of ASNA. ASNA was an educational foundation located at 17th and Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. This foundation provided extra tutorial services for children of different levels that showed promising aptitudes.

In addition, Morris worked with the Liberia Redevelopment Association whose headquarters is located in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. He worked in collaboration with one of the leaders, Rufus Medin. This Collaboration served more than 3000 Liberian refugees in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Achievements[edit]

  • Among the first group of Liberian graduate students to receive a Fulbright scholarship to the United States (1964).
  • First Director General of National Social Security,Welfare and Corporation for the Republic of Liberia (1977–1980).
  • President of the Alumni Association for the University of Liberia (1983–1990).
  • President of Small Enterprise Financing Organization (1986–1990).
  • Second Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship National President for the Republic of Liberia (1987).

References[edit]