Liberia and Partners Hold Business Forum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Boost Private Sector Investment in Country
The Forum which was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia attracted participants from Liberia, the private sector, including foreign investors with hands-on experience in doing business in Liberia. Other participants included Liberian Entrepreneurs, representatives from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), United States Aid for International Development (USAID), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the United States Department of Commerce, Global Building Solutions, Sanctuary 303 Inc, Constituency for Africa (CFA) United Bank for Africa (UBA), Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), Pan African Capital Group, Global Interdependence Center (GIC), Transworld International Consortium, CHF International, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, City Officials of Philadelphia, host of other businesses and Liberian Government Officials.
The theme of the Forum was “Exploring Economic Growth, Private Enterprise and Job Creation”. Panel discussions were held on several topics, including Developing Liberia’s Banking System and Investment: Catalyst for Economic Growth, Entrepreneurship and Stability; Agriculture, Forestry, Housing, Transportation, Mining & Natural Resources, Communication and Maritime; Liberia’s Infrastructure and U. S. Investment Opportunities; Investment Outlook: Small and Midsized Businesses, Finance, Banking and Insurance; Lift Liberia: Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy among others.
At the conclusion, the Forum was deemed very successful, particularly in outlining the strategic initiatives that are being instituted by the Liberian Government aimed at creating a vibrant private sector with emphasis on jobs and expanding economic opportunities.
Participants were very impressed with the level of planning leading to the Forum as well as the quality of the deliberations, state of the investment climate in Liberia and the Government’s overall handling of the recovery, reconstruction and development objectives of the country. There were several networking and relationships established with emphasis for follow-up mechanism to ensure proper and viable outcome of the Forum. Many participants have already signed up for the upcoming trade mission to Liberia, which is a major part of the follow-up strategy.
The Conference ended with a reception at the African American Museum of Philadelphia where participating Liberian Government Officials were honored by the City of Philadelphia. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell presented citations to H.E. Ambassador M. Nathaniel Barnes, Hon. Richard Tolbert, Chairman of National Investment Commission, Hon. Boakai Sirleaf, Acting Minister of Agriculture and Hon. Edwin Sele, Deputy Chief of Mission, Liberian Embassy.
On Saturday, June 13th, the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs facilitated a business roundtable discussion with speakers from the Mano River Union Countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
On Tuesday, June 16, 2009, Representatives of the Embassy of Liberia, including Hon. Edwin F. Sele and Ms. Gurly Gibson along with Philadelphia City Officials and a member of the World Cocoa Foundation visited the South Jersey Port Corporation to explore possibilities of identifying ways and means of procuring assistance for Liberian Cocoa farmers for improved farming methods and better productivity as well as exporting Liberian cocoa to the United States through the Port of South Jersey.
Source: The Liberian Embassy in Washington, D. C.