Ansu O. Dualu
This is the second synopsis relating to this matter; we urge you to first read the original article for a foundational understanding of “Liberia’s One Billion Dollar Challenge”. Please click here.
However, after we revealed to the public what the intention of this challenge is, some people found the idea intriguing, others thought such idea was not for Liberia because “nothing good can come from a place that has had no true national glories” (so they claim), and still the typically-thinking Liberian felt it is a waste of time and resources because Liberia’s leaders are corrupt, its people are lazy and do not subscribe to higher ideals. Furthermore, they asserted that government officials will scoop in and steal every penny like they do with everything else. People’s cynicism toward this issue makes one wonder whether they have read anything about others and the struggles other countries overcame.
This realization made us to push even harder to enlighten our people to Liberia’s possibilities and especially to what we can achieve were we to organize with a targeted intention to shift the narrative back home. We weighed everybody’s position and decided to respond and provide more clarity about raising one billion dollars, set-up a privately funded diaspora corporation, duly registered and insured here in the United Stated, regulated under U.S. investment laws but with the sole purpose of investing in profit-making ventures in Liberia to breathe economic life into a dying country. With that said, we encourage the reading public to do one thing and not just think about Liberia as a lost cause, but rather to open your minds and let us confront this challenge together!
As we embark on this quest to pool our resources and channel our collective efforts in a way that guides the governance process in our country, we expect some Liberians to knock down any suggestions that claim that we can rise to the occasion and elevate Liberia beyond its current pitiful state. However, we did not expect to be called sick, stupid, 419er and crazy because we suggest something that is progressively changing other countries for the better. Mind you, those who are calling us names are the very people who propose zero suggestions on how we can address Liberia’s problems. We hope they can advance an alternative option so we can seize upon it and address some of the desperate conditions in the country. Nevertheless, we must march forward and not concern ourselves with people who believe nothing good can come from our beloved homeland.
Furthermore, before we tell you why you should invest your hard-earned monies, investors should first know how their money is going to be managed and protected to ensure every time-tested financial safeguard is instituted to give you the assurance an owner needs to trust the stewards of his resources.
Investors must know that your money will go into a trust to be managed in collaboration and with the guidance of an investment bank or similar financial institution here in the United States – all your financial statements will come from that institution. This is not a “susu club”, but an investment. You will not be dealing with an individual, but a financial institution that is guided by U.S. security laws. Your investment will be administered under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s guidelines. It will be protected like any U.S. investment. A board comprising of financial professionals will guide the process and determine what kind of profit-making investments to initial in Liberia – we are not a charity; we are a profit-making institution! Investors will also give approval through your voting privileges on which projects to consider for investment. All investment decisions will be monitored, balanced against the risks, and tracked through our website so there can be a public awareness of the management of your funds.
Moreover, your resources will NOT go to an individual person nor will any one person decide how your capital will be expended. Remember, your money will only go to investments in Liberia, but we are going in as an American Corporation under American protection. We will be bringing in huge resources; government officials will not easily bring to bear their usual shenanigans but rather, they will professionally deal with us as a corporate organization with international sway and a reach that can expose and imprison them.
In keeping with this initiative, here are some of the projects we proposed to give investors an idea of the national intentions we have:
(1) Buy the Arabs out of our airport and invest in Liberian Airways through a major airliner
(2) Build a 6-lane, tolled beltway freeway system around Monrovia with space for a future metro line along this corridor to prepare for a growing population
(3) Build the Coastal Highway
(4) An agricultural revolution to feed ourselves
(5) Build a 600MW dam for reliable electricity and prepare for industrialization
(6) Build a private research hospital, a modern private boarding school that meets international standards, a private research university, etc.
Any project we under-take will fully consider the risks and monetary benefits to our investors. Remember, we are a for profit entity with a national, developmental agenda initiative as the core of our platform. All of this will be managed and run by the proposed Liberian Diaspora Corporation headquartered and regulated here in the United States. A Local office will be maintained in Liberia, however. Additionally, we encourage our investors to provide investment suggestions as well.
Conversely, why should you invest your hard-earned money in a venture to bring our beloved Liberia into the 21st Century? The reason is simple: Talking has never worked! WE MUST ACT!! We must act because it is only through acting can we get the Liberia we all know is possible. We must act because Liberia will not develop until its best and brightest minds make a national commitment to changing her condition. We in the diaspora have the economic means and cannot continue to be passive about Liberia and her shameful conditions; we must commit the needed capital to take full control of our heritage. We must act because this is the only way forward. What will be our legacy to our homeland if we all refuse to commit to “putting lappa back around her”? Let us ask ourselves what some may consider an existential question: Is Liberia worth the effort? What is your suggestion if you believe acting is not the way forward? What we do or not do is hugely consequential to the viability of our homeland.
We are fully aware and maintain a respectful appreciation for the skepticism some Liberians have towards this issue, but until we leave this earth, we must continue to try to push to make Liberia a better place than we met it, despite the shortcomings along the way. It is a national duty – we must embrace it!
This One Billion Dollar Challenge aims to raise one billion dollars from Liberians from around the world including those back home. Non-Liberians will also be encouraged to invest. For example, there are about one million Liberians scattered all over the globe. We are targeting each of those Liberians to invest a minimum of $1000 (one thousand dollars – this money can be paid in a lump sum or over a year). Your investment will NOT go to some charity but will be a bond with a certificate issued by a financial institution here in the United States. There will be interest payment like any other security, and after a certain period, you can elect to cash in your bond if you choose to no longer be a part of this revolution to transform Liberia. On the other hand, you can also choose to keep your bond and pass it on to your children as a commitment to future generations, etc.
To truly play our part, we must put our money to work in Liberia targeting issues that will industrialize the country, or at the minimum create the spark that does. We believe through an organized cooperative, we can take control and shift the narrative about how the world sees us and how we can discover our true potential as a people – a poorly functioning, low budget government cannot do this alone! We must help.
With that say, it is fitting to let you know what our intentions are and what this One Billion Dollar Challenge aims to accomplish. The mission is national regeneration and a newfound citizen push to create economic freedom and achieve three things:
- Economic Control – Infuse targeted private sector resources to breathe economic life into the country, built needed infrastructure and develop Liberian industries; “Liberianize” the private sector and increase employment for our people that will spark the economic activities we desperately need; build the international infrastructure and connections to exert strategic influence over national decisions and have a hand in controlling and shaping the direction our country. This private sector infusion will be controlled by Diaspora Liberians with an oversight, professional guidance from our host countries such as the ECOWAS, United States, Sweden, Australia, etc.
- Social Revolution – Use our clout as a major Liberian Business Organization to reorient the thinking of our people – changing of the minds and attitudes of Liberians. Devise a strategy to reeducate the minds of young people who were not privileged because of our civil war to be indoctrinated in our Liberian way of respect for elders and village norms, our traditions, responsibility to community, reawakening “it takes a village mindset” and fighting for the soul of our country! Develop a new culture of responsibility and a sense of self-worth, lessen the inferiority complex that has become a burden, highlight our values, and the Liberian culture; and lastly but most importantly, push for an unflinching commitment to country and the family unit.
- Control the Political Narrative – After we have created the economic vitality that provides jobs and dignity for our people, shifted the irresponsible and absent social conditions in the country and solidify the kind of influence that is required, we will be in the position to exert tremendous political control in the country. We will use our clout to push for a Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, determine who becomes president, senator, representative, and be an economic powerhouse in the country. Secondly, we intent to push for 4 seats (2 senators and 2 representatives) in the Liberian Legislature for Diaspora Liberians, advocate and get voting rights for overseas Liberians in national elections. Furthermore, there will be an unrelenting effort to push for the institutionalization of our governing process – the culture and disease of the deification of government officials must be abolished from Liberian political life. We will push to vote from overseas. This option will work both for the government and Diaspora Liberians because it has the potential to bring in over a $100 million dollars in overseas taxes, voting registration fees each year. For example, we have over a million Liberians living overseas. If just 200k of those people register to vote in Liberia and each is charged $500 per year because they do not live in Liberia, that is about $100M per year just in registration fees alone! This is not a new idea; other countries are taking full advantage of overseas voting.
As it stands, we are currently looking for means to generate this money. Note that IT TAKES MONEY TO RAISE MONEY. There is no other way. This is where we are. We have projected that with a team of seven people working full time for about a year will be able to raise this money. Initially, we are looking for seed capital to cover salaries, travels, hotels, halls, publications, registrations, and investment related fees, etc. We are also taking this time to extend a request to the Liberian Government or a wealthy individual who believe in the possibilities of this venture. If either of them does, his investment will be repaid overtime after the money is raised or they could be an initial investor.
The time is now, we must all wrap our hands around our common heritage, stop the self-doubt, the chronic passivity about national issues and actively join hands to lift our country. Always remember, “In Union Strong, Success is Sure!”
About the Author: Mr. Dualu is a financial professional currently residing in Massachusetts.