The president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, John B. S. Davis, has called on the women of Liberia, particularly marketers, to be part of the change they want to see.
Mr. Davis made the remarks on Friday when he served as the keynote speaker for the Next Level Business Program for Market Women held at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.
He noted that women remain key to promoting the country’s economy, stating that “We are now getting somewhere and want you to be ambassadors of change.”
In order to improve Liberia’s economy, he said, “Each of you have cardinal roles to play. We will achieve it by working together. Some of you will graduate from village savings club to a bank saving.”
Over 1,000 market women selected from 25 markets from Montserrado County completed four months of intensive training, for which they were also provided certificates.
Lauding the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) for the initiative, Davis underscored the importance of the program as more than 50 percent of the country’s population is women.
He urged the beneficiaries to ensure that whatever knowledge they gain be part of their business activities, adding “You can now separate your profit from the business money and need to continue.”
Since 2010, the Gender Ministry in collaboration with UN Women and partners reached over 9,000 market women from over 65 communities across nine of Liberia’s 15 counties, the ministry said.
The Next Level Program is aimed at addressing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and focuses on semi-literate and literate market women with business and financial literacy skills, including access to civil education, peace building and conflict mitigation skills, among others.
Peterson Magoola, Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of UN Women, said they believe that developing the skills of market women prepares them for the world of business, which remains the primary source of income for women entrepreneurs in the informal sector.
“UN Women remains strategically positioned in responding to the needs of women entrepreneurs and is committed to ensuring that the partnership is strengthened with government and the Liberia Marketing Association so as to improve and diversify livelihood options for market women and cross border traders,” Mr. Agoola said.
He lauded all partners, including Ministry of Gender, the Liberia Marketing Association and other relevant partners for the successful implementation of the Next Level Business Program for Market Women.
Also speaking, Julia Duncan-Casssell, Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), urged the graduates to “make maximum use of the skills acquired and continue to practice every day and never to stop learning.”
“We have confidence that you will excel in all you set out to do. You will be a positive role model for future generations in our great nation Liberia,” Minister Duncan-Cassell said.
She lauded the trainers and facilitators as well as superintendents for their tireless efforts in developing the skills of the market women and ensuring the success of the program.