President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged Liberians to create the enabling environment for businesses investing in this country to feel safe, expand and grow.
“It will not work if people are going to destroy businesses; it’s not going to work with placards all over the place; it’s not going to work unless businesses know and have confidence in our policies, laws and in the way that we do things,” she cautioned.
She made the comment when she officially commissioned a new US$5.7 million PET (plastic) bottling line, a new science and technology school and officially launched the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s five new Water Health Centers that will provide safe water access to over 61,000 Liberians at the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Duport Road, respectively, on Monday, October 26, 2015. President Sirleaf described the new economic and social investment initiatives as the first vote of confidence in Liberia after the deadly Ebola virus disease.
“Today let me say to all Liberians, this is the time for commitment,” the Liberian leader appealed; noting that the country’s economy is going through some difficult times given that our main exports – rubber and iron ore – are now facing depressed global crisis.
She noted that with the decline, Liberia must find other initiatives to be able to promote businesses to create those exports and the means whereby the gaps that now exists because of global crisis can be filled by expansion into other areas.
President Sirleaf indicated that though the environment has to be created by government policies and practices, it also has to be created by every Liberian who wants to see jobs, see business expand and wants to see where we, like neighboring countries can export to other places. “The challenge is to every Liberian to make sure that what they do, how they act, how they support, how they join in creating this environment will enable us to achieve our development objectives,” she said.
She noted that though there have been periods of interruption and contraction in Liberia over time, the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, like Firestone-Liberia, has remained with Liberia despite these difficulties. She further urged the Coca-Cola Company to bring in a juice manufacturing plant that will have juices made in Liberia for domestic consumption and possible export to other countries. “All these years for Liberia not to have a juice producing plant is totally unacceptable,” she said, adding that now is the time to create that plant for the production of juices for us too.
She thanked all those who made it possible to see the dream of Coca-Cola Company become a reality. For his part, the Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer of Coca-Cola Company, Mr. Alex Cummings said, “Liberia may have been fractured by the tragedy of Ebola over the last year but its spirit of optimism, ambition and progress will never be broken.”
He pointed out that Coca-Cola has been ever-present in Liberia for over 65 years and their commitment to investing in economic and social initiatives remains as strong as ever as they increase their contribution to supporting sustainable growth of both their business and the communities they serve.
The Coca-Cola Bottling Company’s first PET bottling line begins production at its Monrovia facility immediately. The new capabilities will expand Coca-Cola’s beverages to include more convenient plastic bottles for Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, and water. It will also serve as a regional export hub for Sierra Leone and Guinea.
An estimated 7,500 direct and indirect employment opportunities will be created over the next five years across Coca-Cola’s locally sourced supply-chain of distributors, retailers and material suppliers. As part of Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s Safe Water for Africa program, it launched five new Water Health Centers in Liberia. A total of seven new Centers will be inaugurated by the end of the year (2015), providing safe, clean water access and sanitation to a total of 61,000 persons.-Press Release