For the first time in its history, the Government of Liberia has initiated a national export strategy aimed at tapping into the country’s tourism industry.
Vice President Joseph Boakai Thursday, July 28, officially launched the export strategy, which he described as a critical step geared towards creating youth employment as well as a stimulus to economic growth and viability.
The export strategy is being coordinated by the Ministries of Commerce, and Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism with the Ministry of Information as main implementing agency.
The strategy provides for exploring the nation’s eco-tourism sector, including wildlife, fishery, waterfalls, and lakes, among others. International Trade Center statistics show that Africa accounts for 65 million tourists annually. With the continent generating 6% Gross Domestic Product(GDP) from tourism, the Government of Liberia(GOL) has now launched its own initiative in order to explore avenues from which it can create jobs and economic stimuli for the welfare of its citizens.
The challenges are however enormous, and there’s still more work to be done for the industry to go into full swing. They include issues such as policy or laws on the country’s naturalization for foreigners, improved transportation and road networks, improving ports infrastructure, as well as formulating an immediate action plan that will get the implementation committee at work.
“We are here to embark on a critical section, especially when it comes to Liberia’s post WTO accession. We view this as an important component of the post-WTO accession,” VP Boakai said, and added, “It’s critical step that will ensure economic growth and will serve as a means for job creation for many young people in our country. I am pleased to officially declare Liberia’s Export Strategy officially launched.”
He said the strategy is part of Liberia’s WTO post accession plan, and investment plan, which will improve predictability of the system and broaden revenue generation.
“We are committed to this process. We are here to respect our diversities,” Liberia’s Commerce Minister Axel Addy, speaking during the official launch, said.
Minister Addy: “This will create an opportunity for tourists to visit Liberia and see and experience the beauty of our country. They will have the chance to view our waterfalls, lakes and wildlife like we do in other countries when we travel.”
The Commence boss the initiative is a critical and fundamental component of the government’s efforts of developing a viable tourism industry. The Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, noted the sector will create enormous opportunity for manufacturing of goods and food production, as well as enhance the agriculture sector, saying, “Let’s think out of the box. Let’s work hard. Let’s work collectively in order to ensure a viable tourism industry.”
“This means more jobs for the people of Liberia because tourism is a major industry around the world. Tourists want to see and experience what others have not seen. They also want to go places where others have not gone. We remain supportive of this initiative”, says Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Center.
Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia has also launched a new website where information about its tourism sector can be accessed.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne