Project is a brainchild of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce and Liberia Business Association and is supported by the government through the Ministry of Commerce to promote made-in Liberia products.
By Robin Dopoe and David Yates
The government and its partners, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce and Liberia Business Association, have embarked on a project to host the country’s first monthly trade fair, in order to promote locally made products.
The first fair, scheduled for December 8, is expected to bring together over 300 entrepreneurs, investors, and customers to promote the local service and manufacturing industries.
J. Wendell Addy, President of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), said the aim of the trade fair is to provide a platform that will enable buyers, sellers and investors from across the country to network, discuss, share trade, investment and market information, while sealing business agreements.
“Another goal of the upcoming fair is to bring Liberians closer to locally made products to create a connection that will lead to an increase in sales nationwide and promote county by county trade, because the importance can never be over-emphasized since it will immensely contribute to the growth of the country’s local industries, promote inter-county trade and access to markets information,” Mr. Addy added.
He said the fair is also part of Liberia’s preparation for the upcoming Intra-African Trade Fair (IAFT), which is aimed at transforming Africa and has been scheduled to be held in Cairo, Egypt, this year from December 11 to 17, 2018.
IAFT aims to bring together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services as well as to explore business and investment opportunities.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Wilson Tarpeh, said the LCC and LIBA initiatives will greatly contribute to President George Weah’s aspiration to make Liberians major players in their own economy.
Min. Tarpeh added that the overall goal of the fair is to greatly reduce the country’s over-dependence on finished imported products by increasing productive capacity, with a focus on exporting to African markets and other parts of the world.
“The short-term goal is to decentralize the fair and empower local industries, whether service or manufacturing, to become strong and sustainable, while the long-term goal focuses on export once local productions have increased and companies meet sustainability targets.
“We want to become a successful country; that is why we want to empower our local industries to have the financial strength to engage into export business, because it offers huge market and revenue. This fair is one of several projects that the government intends to implement to create an enabling business environment for local industries to strive,” Min. Tarpeh added.
He promised government’s support, whether financially or in kind, to businesses that will be representing Liberia at IATF’s upcoming event.
Rugie Barry, chairperson of the Membership Committee at Liberia Business Association (LIBA), said locally made products, including food and woodwork, will be put on display as a means of showcasing Liberia’s homemade products to the rest of the world.
“It will be a unique and colorful event for the people to see and buy their homemade products. This event will take place in the city center, specifically on Ashmun Street, where dozens of local producers will put their wares on display,” Madam Barry said.