Amid Liberia’s crippling economy, one of the country’s key bilateral partners Israel announces that there is good news for the poverty stricken nation, disclosing that some of the 40 companies that like to invest and do business here are already on track to begin operations.
At the climax of her visit to Monrovia, Israel’s Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone Madam Shani Cooper – Zubida told journalists on Wednesday, 26 June that some of the 40 companies concerned are already on the track to do business in Liberia, though she declines elaborating further.
“Well, they’ve heard about the opportunities and some of them [are] already… on the track of doing business here in Liberia,” Amb. Cooper – Zubida says at the press conference held at the Royal Grand Hotel in Sinkor, suburb of Monrovia.
The Israeli investment is coming at a time Liberia is grappling with a very bad economy that keeps the vast majority of the population here living in complete destitution due to lack of job opportunities for the youth and college graduates, poor performance of the business environment and derailing hope for much of the poor people.
The Israeli Envoy cautions that in business it takes a while in terms of signature, the funding and all the complications especially when it is the first time doing business [somewhere], but she indicates that things are wrapping up to begin business here.
However the Israeli Envoy recalls a wonderful event held in Israel during President George Manneh Weah’s visit there, saying 40 Israeli companies who would like to invest and do business in Liberia came to meet all the ministers that accompanied the President to Israel.“But believe me what I am saying, it’s soon we’re going to hear good news…,” she continues.
In the relations between Israel and Liberia, Ambassador Cooper – Zubida says her country is investing in three main sectors which are health, agriculture and counter terrorism.
In these sectors, she notes that Israel is proud of its capability, experience and expertise, and it will contribute in knowledge sharing and wherever it needs to contribute.
According to Madam Cooper – Zubida, Israel has declared that this year Liberia enters the agro studies program which Israel has around the world, mostly in Africa and Asia.
In an effort o boost Liberians’ capacity in the agriculture sector, Amb. Cooper – Zubida announces that Israel is taking Liberian agriculture students, linking them to Israel for 11 months on – the – job training, working with Israeli farmers while studying in academic areas.In this program, she says students will go into their fields of interest while they get their salaries.
After the 11 months, she says the students will return to Liberia with cash package of US$10,000 each provided them by the Israelis to empower them to begin their own businesses.
But she warns that these students will have a burden of demonstrating best qualities, as the Israeli farmers may not be encouraged to take additional Liberian agriculture students if the first batch doesn’t prove best quality.
According to her, Israel had to deal with a lot of emergency situations and as such it became expert in emergency situations on health.
She recalls that when the Jewish state was founded in 1948 it did not have any ties with its neighbors and it could not count on them on import or export.
Faced with the challenge to grow everything that Israel needed, she says the country began innovation and technology that are now leading the world of agriculture.
She notes that Israel is 70 percent desert, yet it doesn’t have water problem because 88 percent of the water used in Israel is recycled.According to her, if water is used to flush toilet or take bath, that same water is recycled to be used for agriculture purpose.
Ahead of her interaction with the media on Wednesday, Amb. Cooper – Zubida says she had given certificates to 40 Liberians following their participations in trauma, and emergency preparedness workshop that was done by the Israelis.
She says the workshop was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, expressing happiness that the cooperation between Israel and Liberia’s health services is excellent.
According to her, doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, fire fighters, immigration officers, police officers and all the people and institutions that are supposed to handle huge cases of emergency here were gathered in one room at in order to learn how to strategize and plan.
She discloses that doctors from one of the best hospitals in Israel came with equipment and taught the Liberians how to take care of emergency delivery and try to reduce the child and mother mortalities during labor.By Winston W. Parley