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Embarrassment at business confab

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Dignitaries and high profile officials invited to speak at Liberia’s 3rd annual Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise conference suffered an endless embarrassment Tuesday on stage as they have to struggle with a mal-functioning microphone to speak to a large audience at the Monrovia City Hall.

Technicians at the event Tuesday were unable to film a video already announced by the master of ceremony due to poor quality, while the sound system on the other hand continued to groan uncontrollably disrupting the program each time the microphone was switched on and given to a speaker.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who was apparently fortunate to have used a different microphone that was given to her protocol, while walking to the podium, also had to hurriedly conclude her remark amid laughter from the audience upon noticing similar signals that the microphone was about to mal-function.

U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, avoided using the microphone; but some speakers and the World Bank Country Director to Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone Dr. Henry Godfrey Rupiny Kerali, tried using it but with terrible feedback hitting the audience.

In her remark, President Sirleaf thanked organizers of the event, especially as it focuses on youth empowerment. Recognizing that majority of Liberia’s population is youth, she said the initiative provides an opportunity that will enable these young entrepreneur to move from the sidewalk to owning stores and factories.

She alluded to previous speakers’ comments that most jobs are created by the MSMEs, suggesting that if they can be supported and equally exhibit commitment, certainly a lot can be done to reduce the level of poverty here.

However, she cautioned Liberians against fronting for non-Liberian businesses, while government tries to implement a policy of giving 25 percent of all budgetary appropriations of goods and services to Liberian entrepreneurs.

World Bank Country Director Dr. Kerali says giving the challenges that Liberia and other African countries face today, Liberians must be innovative and entrepreneurial. “If you do not have a job, create one for yourself and employ others. This is the best way to contribute to the development of Liberia,” he cautioned during the event.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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