Israel ‘to Encourage Energy, Mining Investments’ in Liberia

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Israeli Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Ami Mehl, has said that he is doing everything possible to lure Israeli investors to Liberia, especially in the energy and mining sectors.
Speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia when he paid a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Tuesday, Ambassador Ami Mehl expressed his preparedness to work with Liberia to ensure a boost in energy for the country.
This, he said, is extremely crucial to meeting the middle-income level that the Liberian government envisages, for which it has crafted the Vision 2030 development agenda.
“Madam President, we intend to encourage investment in the energy and mining sectors. This we think will help the government in its development agenda that would ensure that the country becomes a middle income country,” the Ambassador said.
The Israeli diplomat also informed President Sirleaf that two of his country’s experts in Early Childhood Learning are due in the country soon to work with the Ministry of Education to examine existing issues and advance proposals for practical and workable outcomes.
Ambassador Mehl, who is resident in Accra, Ghana, was accompanied to the President’s office by Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon Kamara.
President Sirleaf lauded the ambassador for his continued interest and support in attracting potential business for Liberia, saying that an Israeli private sector intervention in Liberia’s energy sector remains crucial to expand the nation’s overall energy capacity, even after the completion of the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant.

President Sirleaf noted that Liberia is part of the U.S. government funded “Power Africa” initiative; and working in partnership with Israeli investors is a welcomed development.

She also said Liberia’s new agenda for doing business is anchored on value addition, especially in the forestry, fisheries, oil palm, coffee, cocoa and mining sectors.

She noted that the much needed jobs will come when value chain addition becomes part of the country’s economic diversification vision.

Present at the courtesy call was Amir Hayman, a high ranking official of Sociedade de Investimentos Mineiros (SOCIM), a South African company, expressing interest in forming a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement that will not only ensure local ownership, but also enhance the economic competitiveness of the country’s local content.

SOCIM’s area of focus is polished diamonds, and Mr. Hayman says he will return in a month to conduct further studies on the sector. The company has subsidiaries in Angola, Botswana, Russia, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, etc.

Mr. Hayman spoke of the Diamond Academy in Israel, which he said when the PPP deal is sealed, would provide training for Liberians once significant progress is made, coupled with the sealing of a deal to kick start the proposal. He said, the Liberians – once trained and specialized – will be critical in any unfolding Public-Private Partnership.

He indicated that SOCIM-South Africa’s long term goal will be to set up a viable polished diamond partnership based on the best standards, characterized by sustainable relations on a win-win business model.

Meanwhile the delegation is holding discussions with other key stakeholders in the energy, agriculture, fisheries and mining sectors.

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