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SMI-Liberia launches extension program

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaBuilding Markets Sustainable Marketplace Initiative Liberia (SMI-L) project has launched its extension program after being awarded two years extension by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

SMI-Liberia successfully completing first three years of programmes in Liberia, on April 10, 2015.  

The launch, which took place at Mamba Point Hotel in Monrovia, brought together several businesses and personalities, including USAID, IBEX, LIGIS, NIC, and local businesses, among others.

The event among other things highlighted some of the key phase one achievements as well as shared on the key activities and components to be undertaken in the extension phase. 

Welcoming guests during the event, the Head of Building Markets Liberia, Timothy Melvin, said he was proud of the achievements of his institution and looks forward to a more conducive working relationship with local and international businesses and the Government of Liberia in strengthening existing partnerships. 

Mr. Melvin however thanked the guests and said their presence at the program showed appreciation of his institution’s work.

He listed several services and achievements of his institution and named Supplier Directory, which contains more than 3,200 profiles of local companies, searchable by sector and location at Liberia.buildingmarkets.org., Tender Distribution, which disseminates tender announcements to local suppliers via SMS, email and on the Building Markets’ Web site, Business Matchmaking,

Business matchmaking helps international buyers identify cost-competitive and high quality domestic products and services by request and establishes relationship between buyers and local businesses at networking events.

Mr. Melvin added that since April 2012, SMI-L has supported local businesses to win over USD $31.2 million in contracts and created 960 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

For its part, the National Investment Commission (NIC) mentioned many contributions made by Building Markets to the local economy, saying, it is pleased with Building operations in Liberia and that the extension of the program was in the interest of local businesses and the local economy. 

Mr. Saye Dolo, who represented the National Investment Commission (NIC) however, highlighted the research aspect of Building Markets work when he said “I am particularly interested in your research work. Basically it highlights the short and long term opportunities and how local businesses can tap from these opportunities. This aspect of your work is good for our local economy.” 

For his part, Mr. Rod Thompson, representing the USAID, thanked Building Markets for the implementation of its first phase which he said proved fruitful. He narrated that Building Markets has been able to offer local businesses in Liberia several business opportunities and that the number of jobs that have been created as a direct result of Building Markets intervention was due to opportunities it had created. He added that USAID was pleased to extend Building Markets operations in Liberia and looks forward to its successful implementation.

One important aspect that highlighted the launch was a testimonial from one of the local suppliers – Efficient Logistics represented by Mr. Reuben Carter. 

Mr. Carter spoke of the humble beginning of his business and that through Building Markets works with his local business, he has become successful. Mr. Carter, meanwhile, recommended that Building Markets sets up network of local suppliers, saying, “When those, who are not a part of this network begin to see the fruit it is bearing, they will be encouraged to join in.”

By Chealy Brown Dennis

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