Pres. Sirleaf Pushes Economic Diversification Policy

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has underscored agriculture, energy, mining, health, infrastructure, among others, as priority areas for foreign investment in the country.

Other areas she named include tourism, manufacturing, and information and communication technology.

President Sirleaf made these remarks yesterday at a one day Liberia-UK Trade and Investment Forum organized by the National Investment Commission (NIC) in collaboration with the British Embassy and Developing Markets Associates.

According to her, with Liberia recovering from the twin shocks of the health crisis and the sharp decline in the world commodity prices, which led to some business closures, including mines, job losses and reduced fiscal revenues, it is urgent for the government to reengage international investors and partners.

The forum, she said, offers the platform for re-engagement with the international business community for her government to lay out its economic agenda in the post-health crisis environment, and highlight opportunities for foreign investors.

“Times have changed and so has our economic focus. The harsh realities of the global economy have compelled us to recalibrate our economic focus away from the previous one.

“Our government is now keen on adopting an economic diversification policy which I believe will serve as a cushion against both internal and external shocks,” President Sirleaf said.

She used the occasion to specifically appreciate the role of the British Embassy, Developing Markets Associates (DMA), the NIC and other institutions.

“We have made it a point to invariably reach out to international investors to test their confidence level in the progress and potential of our country. Feedback received has helped to shape and reform our investment climate. Today, I can proudly say that our investment climate is immensely improving,” President Sirleaf said.

She further told the investors that Liberia will be making a case for the much needed investments in priority sectors of the economy.

Also speaking, the chief executive officer of Developing Markets Associates (DMA), Atam Sandhu, said the forum is Liberia’s first ever international, in-country summit that aimed to build on the successes of previous meetings and reflects Liberia’s impressive growth in business.

Mr. Sandhu told the gathering that Liberia is once again back on track to regain the success it achieved prior to the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

Much of the credit for progress, according to him, must be given to President Sirleaf, who has been in government since 2006. It was her government that established a prudent macro-economic environment which underpins socio-economic development in the country, he said.

“As you will hear from ministers today, the government is building an ambitious plan of reconstruction, not only to win back the losses of two-year growth (due to Ebola epidemic) and put the country back on the growth trajectory it was experiencing prior to the outbreak, but also build an economy which will be resilient to future shocks whenever they occur,” he said.

The ceremony was graced by senior government officials, including Central Bank Governor Milton A. Weeks, Commerce Minister Axel Addy, investors, among others.

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