Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai says a concerted approach aimed at economic growth will propel investment opportunities in the three Mano River Union (MRU) countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone-the three countries hardest hit by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to formulate a Sub-regional Recovery Program to ensure their return to stability.
Vice President Boakai says a comprehensive sector approach that will focus on key areas of health,gender, youth development, social protection, agriculture, ICT, Governance, infrastructure and private sector development are important pillars for growth and economic development.
A dispatch from the Hague, the Netherlands says, VP Boakai who was sSpeaking at the ”Back To Growth” Investment Conference for Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, told the gathering of investors that Liberia is open to business- an investment climate that promotes mutual benefits.
He noted that Liberia has made tremendous efforts to improve its business climate through domestic reforms and is also making headways in ensuring that laws and systems foster beneficial investment, which makes it best suited for potential business partnerships and collaboration.
”The recognition of our hard work in this direction came when we made the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact, which will drive investment in our energy sector thereby improving our competitiveness by reducing the cost of electricity, a major barrier to growth in Liberia. And as you know, in December, thanks to support from countries like yours through the EU, Liberia will be joining the World Trade Organization at the Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, making us the last country on continental Africa to be joining the multilateral system. This is yet again another signal of our commitment to domestic reforms that enhance our business climate and tell the world that we are truly ready for business.” he noted.
Vice President Boakai who faces a herculean task here to succeed President Sirleaf says, it has been proven that investing in small medium sized enterprises which accounts for over 90% job opportunities and over 50% contribution to GDP in countries like Liberia, can truly unlock the potential for economic transformation.
He recognized the presence of some Liberian Small Medium-sized Entreprises at the conference to exchange ideas with many Dutch innovators for partnership, knowing that the Dutch has a long history of investing in SMEs and has reaped, and continues to reap, the many benefits that serve as engines of growth and innovation.
The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms .Lilianne Ploumen welcomed the delegates to the conference and emphasized the need for the three Ebola affected Countries have an opportunity to share ideas and partnership collaboration with the foreign trade partners.
Liberia’s Ambassador to Belgium, the Netherlands and the EU, Isaac W. Nyenabo says the conference is an opportunity to see investments in basic infrastructures like roads, electricity and water, as well as other private sector initiatives which will give rise to the quality of life and eventually improve other services such as education, quality healthcare and boost agriculture.
Ambassador Nyenabo says trade partnership with Dutch investors will enhance development and can also be an important instrument for poverty reduction and wealth creation, especially investment in water transport, ports operations, financing facilities for SMEs and agricultural productivity.
He commended the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen and the Dutch Government for the ‘Back To Growth’ Conference dating back to the July 6, 2015 Dutch Investment Forum in Monrovia where about 30 Dutch Business people visited Liberia and met the Liberian President, members of the Business Community and SMEs.
Delivering separate papers at the conference on thematic areas were: Public Works Minister Gyude Moore on the Infrastructure Sector, Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses Zinnah on the Agricultural Sector and Commerce Minister Axel Addy on the health pillars and commerce sectors respectively.
The few Liberian businesses present at the forum include: J-Palm Liberia, Efficient Logistics, Local Farm Incorporated, GLS Liberia, AidCorp, among others.
The ‘Back To Growth’ conference, hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attracted international investors, including businesses, governmental representatives, multilateral institutions, development banks and NGOs as well as senior Ministers and business people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to participate in the conference. The conference was tailored to meet the needs of investors and investment projects alike. It included breakout sessions to provide insightful learning experiences, along with personal high-level engagement and networking opportunities.