Former international football star George Weah was sworn in as Liberia’s new president on Monday, in the country’s first transition between democratically-elected leaders since 1944.

Weah, 51, took over from Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who spent 12 years at the helm, steering the West African nation away from the trauma of a civil war.

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He was sworn in as president by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Francis Korkpor.

The ceremony took place at a packed sports stadium near the capital, Monrovia, with several African heads of state in attendance, along with friends and former colleagues from Weah’s football years.

Crowds queued for miles to reach the stadium, singing, dancing and waving the Liberian flag as they waited.

Liberia's former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R) and her Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai attend the ceremonyCredit:
THIERRY GOUEGNON/ REUTERS

Weah has vowed to make prosperity and job creation the hallmarks of his presidency.

Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking a mere 177th on the 188 countries in the Human Development Index compiled by the UN Development Programme.

Weah was name the Fifa World Player of the Year in 1995 while playing for AC Milan. He had short spells playing for Chelsea and Manchester City in the twilight of his career.

George Weah dispatch

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