Monrovia, Liberia – The National Investment Commission in collaboration with the British Embassy in Monrovia has ended a one-day Liberia-UK trade and investment forum at the Monrovia City Hall in Liberia.
The forum was held through its Foreign Commonwealth Office and Developing Market Associates (DMA), a leading investment promotion firm for sovereign governments worldwide.
The theme of the forum, “Investment Opportunities in Liberia: Towards Inclusive Growth and Economic Diversification,” highlighted major business sectors of the Liberian economy. Areas highlighted are agriculture, energy & mining, health, and infrastructure & tourism.
It provided unique opportunities for investors and potential investors to gain in-depth knowledge of the significant investment prospects in Liberia. For international investors as well as business leaders, the forum offered an opportunity to engage ministers, senior officials and private sector participants at a strategic level.
With Liberia recovering from a twin shock of Ebola and a sharp decline in commodity prices, which led to closure of few businesses, massive job losses and reduction in revenues, the need for the Liberian Government to re-engage investors and partners is imperative.
With about 20-30 international investors attending, the forum is expected to meet its objective of creating a platform for Liberia to lay out its economic agenda and highlight opportunities for international investors.
It is also expected to showcase constructive dialogue between would-be investors and the Government in order to promote Liberia’s investment competitiveness on the international scene. If all go as planned, this according to report would enhance existing interest in Liberia prior to the Ebola outbreak, and ensure a value to the country’s raw materials.
Speaking at a press briefing, the Chief Executive Officer of Developing Markets Associates, Atam Sandhu said Liberia’s first ever international in-country forum is aimed at building on the success of previous meetings to reflect Liberia’s growth in business in recent years.
Mr. Sandhu said Liberia is known for its potential in areas such as extractive industries where the country has its wealth of natural resources. He said the meeting will broaden Liberia’s economic partnerships with the international investment community. It would also strengthen ties between Liberia and the United Kingdom key economic sectors, he asserted.
“Our government is keen on adopting an economic diversification policy”
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described the forum as an opportunity for Liberia to reengaged the international business community for business prospects.
She said the forum was organized to allow the government to lay out its economic agenda in its post health crisis environment, highlight opportunities for foreign investors, and reinforce international interest in the country.
The Liberian leader asserted that the harsh realities of global economy have compelled the country to re-calibrate the economic focus of the Liberia away from the previous, “Our government is keen on adopting an economic diversification policy which I believe will serve as a cushion both internal and external shocks,” She concluded.
British Ambassador to Liberia , David Belgrove said the holding of the meeting in Monrovia is indicative of Liberia desire to ensure that the climate of business in the country is attractive.
Belgrove said the forum provided an opportunity to Liberia informing would be investors about the country’s economic potentials.
He noted that through the forum, would be investors have gotten a clear understanding of the outlook of the investment climate in Liberia and areas government wants to improve through foreign investments.
The forum held in Monrovia by the United Kingdom is intended to develop, coordinate and deliver a new trade and investment policy to promote UK business across the globe.
It also focused on developing and negotiating free trade agreements and market access deals with non-EU countries, negotiating plurilateral trade deals (focused on specific sectors or products), providing operational support for exports and facilitating inward and outward investment.
The forum was sponsored by ArcelorMittal, APM Terminals, Dawnus International, HummingBird, Bollore Equatorial Palm Oil amongst others, it was organized by Developing Markets Associates.