“Liberia Is Ready For Business”…Says Commerce Minister

Commerce and Industry Minister, Axel M. Addy, has assured a gathering of top international business executives and Liberian entrepreneurs that Liberia is ready for business.

“Liberia is ready for business and I look to Forbes to ensure that this experience will help us see the magic happen among entrepreneurs where ideas are aligned with mutual benefits and thus transforming this exchange into some tangible investments in Liberia,” Mr. Addy said.

Speaking yesterday at the opening of a one day MoCI/Forbes Entrepreneurial Exchange 2013 Business Summit at the Monrovia City Hall, Mr. Addy said government is banking on the private sector in the journey called transformation, saying, “As we embark on major business facilitation investments, we are counting on you. Today our investments in energy, roads and ports, will transform the Liberia of tomorrow.”

Minister Addy said like the SME Conference in last April for the meeting of the minds on doing business in Liberia, he was delighted to welcome the various guests, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and innovators who have traveled to be in Liberia for an exchange on a number of issues as it relates to business.

“They will be sharing their experiences with all of you and hearing from some of you today on innovations undertaken by you in a challenging business environment,” he added.

The Commerce and Industry Minister then announced that the World Bank Doing Business Survey is out and Liberia has improved by five points from the previous year and now two points below the regional average.

He said most importantly in terms of starting a business globally, Liberia stands at 31 in the ranking of 189 economies on the ease of starting a business and second in Africa, nest to Rwanda, saying, “We are on the rise.”

Minister Addy commended Forbes Magazine, KRL international, USAID IBEX, Building Markets,  Coca Cola,  Arcelor Mittal, and his team at the ministry headed by Deputy Minister, Candace Eastman, for putting the summit together in a matter of days.

The Minister told the international guests and philanthropists at the summit that Liberia is undergoing a significant transition and has embarked on a journey of transformation set to improve the lives of all Liberians.

“However, we recognize this journey has its own challenges and it will take time. Today, our economy although growing, is leaving many of our people behind. Today, what keeps me awake is that more and more I see are the purchasing power of the majority of our population diminishing. Today, at a crossroad, destiny has asked us to make a choice, for history will judge us,” he pointed out.

At the ceremony yesterday two panel discussions were held relative to Raising Money in Liberia and Growing an Enterprise in Liberia respectively.

The first panel discussion “Raising Money in Liberia” was moderated by Brigdgitt Arnold, Director of Gates Foundation and discussants were Fred Balohum, Fund Manager of West Africa Venture Fund; Weibe Boer, CEO of Tony Elumelu Foundation; Watchen Bruce, Chief of Party at USAID-IBEX; Scott Gimore Founder and CEO of Building Markets; Rob Hain, Chairman of City Financial of the United Kingdom and Charlie Johnson, Former President of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

The second panel discussion was moderated by Randall Lane, Editor of Forbes media and brought together as discussants Michael Wotorson, Chairman of the National Investment Commission; Mai Bright Urey CEO of Wulki Farms, Incorporated, R. J. Shook Founder of the Winners Circle; Francine Lefrak, Philanthropist and Founder of SAME Sky among others.