Shifting Liberia’s Business Climate

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Liberian Enterprise Development Finance Company (LEDFC) has vowed to shift and redirect Liberia’s business market by providing “better and affordable” loans to Liberians and financial institutions operating in the country.

LEDFC is a registered non-banking, but Liberian-owned financial establishment organized with the primary objective to providing loan capital to Small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Liberia.
LEDFC, a subsidiary of Ghana Growth Fund Company (GGFC) since May 20, 2013, believes that its presence in Liberia is to improve the financial market and ensure that “more and more Liberian SMEs have access to loans in order to drive the economy.”

Speaking yesterday at a seminar for financial services to Liberian SMEs, GGFC managing director Kwame Asonmaning urged Africans, Liberians in particular to rise up and take charge of their destiny by engaging several business ventures that will develop the country.
“Africa must not be known for the negatives like poverty, war, bad governance and sicknesses; Africans must dominate the list of rich people of the world.

“We want to serve as the platform where finances needed for the development of the nation can be accessed.
“All Liberians need is to organize themselves well in order to participate in this loan scheme,” Asonmaning declared.

He encouraged Liberians to follow the examples of Ghanaians where the economy is largely driven by locals, particularly the construction sector.

According to him, taking ownership of the local market and engaging development partners like the World Bank, USAID and UNDP is a vital approach that should be taken by SMEs, aimed at shifting the business focus. When Liberians establish these small businesses, he said; seeking funding from these financial institutions through LEDFC will ease the many difficulties and bureaucracies SMEs experience while processing loans from banking institutions.
“Ghanaians have shown great interest in construction and that’s the motivation I like to bring to Liberia,” GGFC boss asserted.

For his part LEDFC general manager Ambrose Houphouet pointed out that his entity’s aim is to create the stage for collaboration, networks and synergies for development.
He noted that educating existing and potential clients on the need to be creditworthy while helping SMEs to understand the roles of major stakeholders such as the Ministry of Commerce, Central Bank of Liberia and National Investment Commission as well as the Finance Ministry, remain cardinal tools required to promote LEDFC’s operations across Liberia.

LEDFC provides flexible credit opportunities to Liberian-owned SMEs and registered businesses including, but not limited to sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations that are starting, rebuilding, or expanding their operations.
Clients must meet the criteria of a minimum of 51 percent Liberian ownership, at least 1.4 times the loan amount and a plan to create jobs with proceeds from the loan.
T
he short-term loans payment is 6-23 months with 14 percent interest per annum while the medium-term is around two to five years with 15 percent interest per annum for investment in equipment and other productive assets.
According to LEDFC, their focus is to “professionally provide loan capital to potentially viable and sustainable SMEs in Liberia in a profitable and most effective manner.”

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