Joseph Boakai

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Joseph Boakai
29th Vice President of Liberia
In office
16 January 2006 – 22 January 2018
PresidentEllen Johnson Sirleaf
Preceded byWesley Momo Johnson
Succeeded byJewel Taylor
Minister of Agriculture of Liberia
In office
PresidentSamuel Doe
Personal details
Born (1944-11-30) 30 November 1944 (age 78)
Worsonga, Liberia
Political partyUnity Party
SpouseKatumu Yatta (m. 1972)
Children3 sons, 1 daughter
Alma materUniversity of Liberia
Kansas State University

Joseph Nyumah Boakai (born 30 November 1944) is a Liberian politician who served as the 29th vice president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018, under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He previously served as the Minister of Agriculture from 1983 to 1985.

Personal life[edit]

Joseph Boakai was born in the remote village of Worsonga in Foya District, Lofa County,[1] on 30 November 1944. He is married to Kartumu Boakai and they have four children.[2] Boakai is a Baptist and a deacon of the Effort Baptist Church.[3]

Active in philanthropic efforts, Boakai supervised and personally financed a 7-mile rural village road construction near Warsonga, Liberia. He also worked with the Federation of Liberian Youth[4] (FLY) and the Danish Youth to construct a school for 150 students and clinic for a community of 10 villages. He was active in organizing and fund raising for rural electrification of Foya Kama in Lofa County, Northern Liberia.[1]

Before serving as vice president, Boakai consulted with a number of institutions including serving as Chief Technical Advisor on Agriculture Policy, Ministry of Agriculture.[5] He reviewed and evaluated the Liberian 1986 proposed Green Revolution and FAO World Bank[6] 1986 Agricultural sector Review Document and evaluated AMSCO, Amsterdam Funded training program for projects in Uganda in 1994 and Tanzania in 1996.

He is the owner of LUSU Resource Corporation and co-owner of AGROMACHINES Liberia.[7]

Boakai has served on many boards, including as chairman of Liberia Finance and Trust Corporation, chairman of the board of Star Radio, member of the board of LOIC, member of the board of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary, founding member of Bethesda Christian Mission, founding organizer-African Methodist Episcopal University, founding organizer of the C.W.A. Methodist University,[8] ambassador of the Liberia YMCA, president of LUSU Resource Corporation, and ex-president of the Monrovia Rotary Club.

As vice president, he was the president of the Liberian Senate and presided over plenary sessions of that body for two days each week. He also performed supervisory functions over a number of institutions and agencies including the Liberia National Lotteries (LOTTO), the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), and the National Commission on Disarmament Demobilization Resettlement and Reintegration (NCDDRR).


Boakai attended primary and high school in Sierra Leone and Liberia before graduating from the College of West Africa. He later graduated from the University of Liberia in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.[9]

Political career[edit]

Boakai went on to work in both the public and private sector. He worked as a resident manager (1973–1980) and managing director (1980–1982) for the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC).[2] From 1983 to 1985, he served as Minister of Agriculture under President Samuel Doe.[9] While Minister of Agriculture, Boakai chaired the 15 nation West African Rice Development Association. In 1992, he was the managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC). He later worked as a consultant to the World Bank in Washington, and also founded a firm dealing in agricultural equipment and consultancy. He has served as board chairman of the Liberia Wood Management Corporation and of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company.[2][9] He announced his intention to run for the Liberian presidency which was scheduled for 10 October 2017. [10]

During the first round of the 2017 elections where none of the candidates who contested was able to obtain 50% +1 votes to become the country's next president, president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stated on several occasions that she was supporting her vice president.[11][12]

After the first round, she openly said that she is not supporting either of the two candidates who made it to the run-off. But she was seen on 21 December 2017 with George Weah at a groundbreaking ceremony for a road that is leading to the home of his rival, the vice president Joseph N. Boakai. This was harshly received by some members of the ruling Unity Party, who considered the president's action as campaigning for Weah. After the photos flooded social media, President Sirleaf clarified on the same day: "I have told the AU that I am neither supporting Senator Weah nor Vice President Boakai, although it's my right to support either of them in the run-off. I never knew the protocol of the program until I reached to the program. When I got there I saw Senator Jewel Howard Taylor and Senator Weah, I couldn't tell the both senators to leave because they are both sitting senators. It was Senator Jewel Howard Taylor that gave the shovel to Senator Weah, at which time my head was bent down. So it was difficult for me to identify the person holding the shovel. But however, I regret that the Vice President wasn't there, this is his road and he was needed to be here."

When Boakai was asked if he was invited or not, he said that he was never invited by the President to carry out the groundbreaking ceremony for the road that leads to his home in Lofa County.[citation needed]

When the vice president appeared on the Coasta Show, he said one of the reasons for which the president doesn't want to support him is his alignment with Chairman Wilmot Paye and Senator Varney G. Sherman.[citation needed]

Boakai was defeated by former football legend, George M. Weah, in the run-off of the 2017 presidential and representatives elections,[13] but nonetheless paid an appreciation visit to his county, Lofa.[14]

During his visit, he spoke of his appreciation for his people and urged them to work with the new government. Boakai said, "The purpose of my visit here is to appreciate my people for showing the high level of love and dedication…ensuring that we were successful in the process, because they did what they committed themselves to do by voting in their numbers."

The election has ended, he said, and there is a new government that will continue the work from where the Unity Party led government will stop. “I ask that we all rally around this new administration to bring the desired developments that we all want. We should all know that Liberia has won so let us support each other.[14]"


  1. ^ a b Designs, BlueSeas Web. "The Executive Mansion". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Biography of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai". Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  3. ^ Publications, USA International Business (7 February 2007). Liberia Mineral & Mining Sector Investment and Business Guide. Int'l Business Publications. ISBN 9781433029783. {{cite book}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ "Federation of Liberian Youth". Federation of Liberian Youth. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  5. ^ Designs, BlueSeas Web. "The Ministry of Agriculture". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Home". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Building Markets in Liberia: Find Local Businesses | Sustainable Marketplace – Liberia :: Buy Local, Build Liberia". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  8. ^ "African Methodist Episcopal University". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "Liberia Vice President Boakai". Frontlines – Inside Development. United States Agency for International Development. April 2006. Archived from the original on 11 October 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2006.
  10. ^ "Liberia gears up for an election". The Economist. 5 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Liberia: Ellen Support to Boakai Remains Unhindered". The New Republic Liberia (Monrovia). 11 August 2017. Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  12. ^, Gerald C. Koinyeneh -. "FPA – "Ellen Supports Boakai Big Time" – Sen. Geraldine Doe Sheriff Clarifies". Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  13. ^ "NEC Liberia - 2017 Election Results Website". Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  14. ^ a b "'All is Not Lost,' VP Boakai Assures Lofaians | Liberian Observer". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
Political offices
Preceded by Vice President of Liberia
Succeeded by