Liberian Embassy near Abidjan tells investors
As a prelude to the economic and prospecting mission organized by the Liberian Embassy near Abidjan, in collaboration with the Movement for Small and Medium Enterprises of Côte d’Ivoire, scheduled to be held in Liberia in the first quarter of 2019, a business and investment informational forum was held on Thursday, 25 October 2018, in the conference hall of the Ivorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Abidjan-Plateau; entitled, “Liberia is Open and Ready for Business.”
This meeting was a platform for presenting business and investment opportunities to potential Ivorian investors so that they could take advantage of real investment opportunities in Liberia. Beyond the presentation of the collateral effects of the war shown by some media, this workshop highlighted the untapped potential and opportunities of key economic sectors in Liberia.
Mrs. Willye Mai Tolbert King, Ambassador of Liberia to Côte d’Ivoire, recalled that Liberia has been politically stabilized for the past 15 years, which is being reinforced by President George Weah’s accession to power.
She further outlined the benefits of economic collaboration and indicated that “Liberia’s economic diplomacy aims to attract foreign investors. Investors need to know that there are interests in Liberia. This country is a hidden gem of West Africa. We have a lot of natural resources. We represent 43% of the forest area of West Africa; we have four ports and 350 km of untapped beaches to date.”
Mr. Joseph Amissah, President of Côte d’Ivoire’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, welcomed this exchange platform. For him, it represents an opportunity for the private sector to learn about the business climate in Liberia.
Mr. Toure Faman, President of Côte d’Ivoire’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hailed this initiative, which he said symbolizes the strengthening of ties between the two countries. “This meeting, the first in a series of initiatives, will put in place the basic elements needed to encourage and support commercial activities and investments between Liberia and Ivorian companies.”
The Minister of Commerce and Industry’s representative, Mr. Jesse Jefferson Fahn, Director of International Trade, said that, “Trade is a catalyst for development. We promise more transparency and a vibrant Liberian trade regime to attract foreign investors as well as to facilitate the process for foreign investors and adopt other laws.”
Mr. Ahmed Diomandé, Deputy Director of Cabinet and representative of the Minister of Commerce of Côte d’Ivoire, reiterated that “We are one. It will be a long road, and we are happy to be part of this trip. We ensure that the private sector will be a driver. Liberia is a rich country, and we are at our disposal to share our experience in all sectors.”
Dr. Quinton Ahamad Tunis, Director for Investment Promotion, National Investment Commission (NIC), pointed out that “Liberia is ready for business.” He told investors that there are so many markets to develop, including fifteen “priority sectors,” such as tourism, manufacturing, energy, hospitals, housing, transport … All need investors, and all represent a strong potential for them.
In a country where only 9% of the population has access to electricity, a company is needed to ensure this distribution is essential to the development of the country, Dr. Tunis noted. In a country where 31 airstrips are open and only 7 are operational, a company is needed to operate these airlifts to make the country more accessible.
With Liberia, huge markets (agricultural, tourism, energy) are opening and would offer both sides of the border development and stability of employment. With a growth rate of 8% and a booming trade in Liberia, the file and exposé presented by the NIC mentioned, in particular, easy access to the countries of the region, low labor costs, a stable policy or an ethical charter to ban discrimination in economic circles.
To materialize all these promises, ambitions and future cooperation projects, the presidents of the Ivorian and Liberian Chambers of Commerce and Industry signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
The Liberian delegation to the forum in Abidjan, included Morris A. Sackor, Executive Director, National Investment Commission, Dr. Quinton A. Tunis, Director for Investment Promotion, National Investment Commission, Mr. Jesse Jefferson Fahn, Director for International Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Theresa Davies Dougbah, Secretary-General, Liberia Business Association, Sheik Mustapha Kouyate, Liberia Business Association and Mr. Charles E. Collins, Liberia Chamber of Commerce.
Phase one (1) of the Business and Investment Information forum was climaxed with a 120-guest cocktail celebration hosted by Her Excellency Willye Mai Tolbert King on the Grounds of the Embassy. The celebration was attended by high-level Ivorian government officials such as His Excellency Mr. Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire; Feni KouaKou, Ivorian Ambassador to Liberia; ECOWAS and European Ambassadors accredited to Cote d’Ivoire; representative of the African Development Bank (AFDB); private sector participants and potential investors.
As a platform to present business and investment opportunities to potential Ivorian and other foreign investors, phase two (2) of this initiative is being organized for the first quarter of 2019, in Liberia, under the patronage of President George Manneh Weah, a press release said yesterday.