Liberia: Three-Month Image-Building Consultancy With Riva Levinson, KRL Yet to be Renewed


Monrovia – FrontPageAfrica has reliably learned the government of Liberia has ended a temporary agreement with KRL, the Washington DC-based communications and government relations firm recently hired to help bolster the George Weah-led government’s image in Washington.

A senior administration official speaking to FPA on condition of anonymity Sunday revealed that the contract was a three-month technical assistance pact that has not yet been renewed. “It was a three-month technical assistance mission with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist in orienting the new Weah government in Washington, DC,” the source said. The source added. Given KRL’s long-standing relationships with US Congress, the US Administration and other stakeholders, it was necessary to secure their services to push the government’s image abroad. “That project closed out in August of 2018,” the source said.

The deal between the government and KRL International was consummated on August 22, 2018 and signed on behalf of the government by Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Milton Findley while Jeffery Haymaker, the Chief Financial Officer, signed on behalf of his firm.

According to the agreement, the firm, headed by Riva Levinson, was hired to design a strategic framework for the recent visit of the Liberian government to the United States.

KRL which focuses on the world’s emerging markets, is a top strategist in managing international policy issues and Levinson, the CEO, served as a long-time adviser to former President Sirleaf.

Levinson, credited for being the engine behind ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s international public relations, branding and global marketing propaganda, when contacted at the weekend declined to comment on the arrangements with the Liberian government.

During the recent visit to the United Nations General Assembly, President Weah held talks with Billionaire Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television(BET), former New York Governor Rudy Giuliani, now a legal advisor to President Donald Trump and a host of other high-profile US officials.

The United States of America and Liberia have a longstanding historical relationship dating back to founding of Liberia. At least eight of its former presidents were born in the United States of America. The capital, Monrovia, was named after the fifth U.S. President James Monroe and so are many of its cities or townships which are named after places in the United States. Moreover, the United States has been Liberia’s largest source of donor support over the years.

Levinson was one of the quiet drivers in Liberia’s progress during her regime. In an interview with Forbes in 2016, Levinson revealed how she first encountered Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Her relationship with Pres. Sirleaf dated back to July 1996 when she was working at the United Nations, waiting for the political space to open up so she could return home.

Former President Sirleaf never had a better image in her home country, but was internationally acclaimed, wining several international awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 just few months to that year’s presidential election.

Levinson founded KRL International in 2006, and serves as the firm’s president and CEO. She is a sought-after strategist, solving challenges for clients across the U.S. government bureaucracy and across continents.

She got her start in international consulting in the turbulent late 1980s, as the Soviet Union began to teeter, and proxy conflicts raged across much of Africa and Latin America. As an international operative at Washington’s first bipartisan lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, Riva traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous places at pivotal moments in history, including Angola during the tentative peace in the early 1990s; South Africa at the end of apartheid; and Iraq immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Levinson has managed projects of consequence in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. Following the consolidation of the lobbying and public relations business in the mid-1990s, Riva became Managing Director for BKSH & Associates, a subsidiary of Young & Rubicam.

The lobbyist has a regular column in The Hill, and is the author of the award-winning memoir, “Choosing the Hero: My Improbable Journey and the Rise of Africa’s First Woman President,” chronicling the development of her career alongside her relationship with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Riva has been quoted in Forbes, Fortune, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Washington Post and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” among others.