The Governments of Liberia and Ivory Coast have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help promote trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, according to Daily Observer.
The MOU, which was signed on November 15, 2019, is aimed at strengthening the country’s economy through investment opportunities.
James Strother, President of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), who signed on behalf of the Government, described the MOU as a new dispensation, thereby urging every Liberian citizen to take advantage of the business opportunities.
Recalling President George Weah’s inaugural address, in which he said “no Liberian should be a spectator in their economy”, Mr. Strother assured the public of LIBA’s commitment to ensure a better business partnership.
“As we sign these documents with our Ivorian counterpart today, let us work together for the betterment of Liberian businesses,” he said.
Ahmed Cisse, Vice President of the Confederation Generale des Enterprises De Cote D’Ivoire, said there are lots opportunities available “in agriculture because Liberia has the same soil as Cote D’Ivoire.”
“We also believe in the construction business on our side, and there are firms that are going to welcome that, we got some of the business people in Cote D’Ivoire that are interested in the transportation business. I understand that transportation is one of the needs of Liberians. So, those are the three areas that we are going to start with,” said Cisse.
The visit to Liberia is a response to a similar business forum meeting that was held in September 2018 in Abidjan between the government of Liberia and leaders of the Ivorian business sector.
At the meeting in Monrovia, President George Weah told the Ivorian delegation that Liberia is ready and open for business.
The business opportunities economic cooperation between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire was held on Thursday, November 14, 2019, at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town. The Ivorian delegation brought about 25 business entrepreneurs to have a look at what it takes to do business in Liberia.
At the official opening of the event, the Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Molewuwleh B. Gray, commended the Ivorian team, adding that the business forum would mark a shift of a paradigm in the lives of the two countries.
“This administration is resolved to attract business to Liberia. The potential to create entrepreneurs is encouraging. We have the climate and the land, but the only thing we need is the technical know-how. To our Ivoirian counterparts, consider Liberia as a new investment area,” Gray said.
“We are not only doing diplomacy, but we are also doing economics diplomacy between our countries,” Liberia Ambassador to Cote D’Ivoire, H.E. Willye Mai Tolbert-King added.
Ambassador Willye Mai Tolbert-King was part of the Liberian team last year that was able to connect with the Ivorian Chamber of Commerce along with the private sector to partner and foster development in the two sisterly counties.
“We are looking forward to at least six months from now to see what will develop from this investment forum that we have had today,” Ambassador King said.
Adding up, the Minister of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Professor Wilson Tarpeh, praised the delegation for the business conference, adding that since after the war Liberia’s economy has been supported by foreign aid which, he says, needs to change.
“All of these inflows will help the growing number we have in the country,” Minister Tarpeh said.
Augustine Flomo, Liberia’s Deputy Finance Minister for Economy and Debt Management explained how the Ebola crisis has caused a serious decline in Liberia’s private sector.
Deputy Minister Flomo added: “Our production activities have been hindered. Helping your sister country is a step in the right direction. No country works while the private sector is asleep.”