By Janjay F. Campbell
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Mr. John Mark Winfield, has disclosed that access to credit for small medium enterprises (SME’s) remains a key factor that impedes Liberia’s economic growth.
Speaking at a signing ceremony in Monrovia at the Mamba Point Hotel over the weekend, Mr. Winfield stressed the need for more opportunity for credits stating that economic growth remains the key to Liberia’s growth. He said Liberians are serious minded people but the problem that they face is that they lack access to credit.
Mr. Winfield pledged the United States Government’s commitment towards supporting the Liberian Government in all sectors. The Liberia Investing for Business Expansion Program (IBEX) among other things seek to help Liberian business access to finance as well as private sectors , capacity building and technical assistance services to SMEs.
The Chief of IBEX, Watchen Harris Bruce said the extension of additional programs in Liberia stemmed from analysis and survey over the period. She told participants that five recent USAID approved sector s were identified in addition to previous approved agribusiness and renewable sectors. According to her IBEX is now going to help Liberian businesses in these sectors to access loan through the banks.
The signing ceremony which attracted scores of personalities including business tycoons provides indirect financial services through hands on business management and development training, mentoring and coaching in basic financial record keeping for SMEs.
IBEX also assists SMEs in putting together loan packages and getting them adequately prepared to access finance to expand and grow their businesses. The program is part of a larger strategy by the Liberian Government supported by USAID for strengthening Liberia’s private sector development and growth by improving the nation’s economy with jobs creation.