The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sustainable Marketplace Initiative Liberia (SMI-L) in conjunction with the National Investment Commission (NIC) and SPARK will today, July 6, host an industry fair for the visiting Dutch trade delegation, comprising 41 businesses from the Netherlands.
The delegation, led by Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, is visiting Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola virus disease and striving to recover from huge economic losses.
According to statement released by the delegation, the Dutch companies are interested in partnerships with local Liberian firms, in the areas of Agriculture, health care, automotive, among others.
The goal of the visit is to promote trade between the Netherlands and Ebola affected countries and allow Liberian businesses have the opportunity to network with companies in the Netherlands providing information (IT), logistics, shipping, port maintenance and pharmaceutical services and products.
The visit is the second Dutch business delegation to visit Liberia. The first was in 2012, during which the delegation evaluated opportunities for investment in the agricultural sector.
SMI-L is sponsoring the Dutch trade fair as part of its business linkages service, which assists international buyers in identifying cost-competitive and high-quality domestic products and services.
To date, SMI-L has facilitated over $3 million worth of contracts through this service.
SMI-L is implemented by Building Markets, a non-profit social enterprise that works to create jobs and sustain peace in developing countries by championing local entrepreneurs and connecting them to new business opportunities.
The USAID Sustainable Marketplace Initiative Liberia (SMI-L) creates jobs and sustains peace by working across sectors with both large and small companies to support local businesses, build and strengthen local supply chains, and ensure monies spent in Liberia stay in Liberia.
Since its inception in March 2012, USAID SMI-L has supported more than 153 local businesses in winning contracts worth $50 million and enabled businesses to create over 1,500 full-time jobs.