USAID-funded Market Report Outlines Challenges, Opportunities for MSMEs

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The United States Agency for International Development funded program Sustainable Marketplace Initiative Liberia (SMI-L) last Friday, February 12 presented its 2015 Market Overview Report in Monrovia.

The report which was launched under theme, “Liberian Businesses: the Engines of Economic Growth and Recovery”, was attended by representatives from various government institutions, business and international partners.

According to a statement signed by its Communications and Reporting Specialist, Shaina Bauman of Building Markets, the report provides a snapshot of the Liberian economy in 2015, using data collected throughout the year from over 2,000 businesses.

The statement further said findings demonstrate the resilience and versatility of MSMEs in post-EVD Liberia. However, MSMEs continue to face the same constraints as before the EVD outbreak: limited access to finance, insufficient capacity, poor infrastructure and low business skills.

The USAID-SMI-L statement added that Micro Small Medium Sized Enterprises (MSME) have been bolstered in the past, but in post-EVD Liberia, they are increasingly recognized by the government, development partners and the private sector as the engines of inclusive, sustainable recovery and growth.

Understanding the dynamics and trends of MSMEs in 2015 will ensure that policies and programs in 2016 effectively and holistically target Liberian businesses to drive recovery and development.

SMI-L produced this report as part of its market research component, which aims to fill information gaps around the Liberian economy, increase buyers’ understanding of the local market and promote the importance of supporting local enterprises.

The USAID SMI-L implemented by Building Markets, 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.

In addition to connecting buyers with local businesses, the program maintains an online supplier directory (liberia.buildingmarkets.org) containing profiles of over 3,800 local companies (in twelve counties) and provides training for business owners in bidding procedures, contracting requirements and international standards.

Since the program’s inception in March 2012, USAID SMI-L has supported more than 170 local businesses in winning contracts worth over $66 million and enabled businesses to create 2,726 full-time jobs.

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