Huawei Expresses Interest in Investing in Liberia

Friday, 10th July 2009

Beijing, China - In continuation of his ten-day visit to the People’s Republic of China, Liberia’s Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai, and delegation on July 8 visited the Beijing-based Huawei Company which has expressed interest in investing in Liberia. During the visit, Vice President Boakai assured officials of the company of Liberia’s willingness to do business with Huawei.

He said he was impressed with the growth of the company’s annual turnover  from USD$11 billion in 2005 to more than USD$20 billion now, and assured officials of the company that Liberia would need their services in Government’s decentralization plan.

He said having seen first-hand Huawei’s set up, products and facilities, he was confident that the company would prove to be a good partner.

In his intervention, Planning and Economic Affairs Minister Amara Konneh said the Liberian Government has always been highly centralized, and that it is the policy of the current administration to give authority to local governments in the 15 political sub-divisions of the country.

“This involves not just political decentralization, but also fiscal and economic decentralization. The fundamental question is once we do that, how do we make it work? How do we get the Ministry of Finance in Monrovia, for example, to talk to local customs bureaus around the country? How do we get the Ministry of Internal Affairs to communicate with county offices around the country?,” he said, adding, “This is what decentralization is about, and this is where technology comes into play; it is important to make political decisions a reality.”

The Planning Affairs Minister told Huawei officials that the Liberian Government has constituted a Coordinating Committee at ministerial level, and that this committee will study the Huawei proposal on E-Government, and appropriately advise the President and Cabinet. He, however, assured that it is something that the Liberian Government is interested in adding, “This is something we believe will help us grow faster.”

In remarks earlier, the Senior Vice President of Huawei, Mr. Guo Tianmin, said he was optimistic that Vice President Boakai’s visit to China would help to further strengthen the bilateral ties between Liberia and the People’s Republic of China. He said several years ago, he visited Liberia and was impressed with the country’s abundant resources. He said he is also impressed with the changes taking place and the peace and stability prevailing under the current leadership of Liberia. Mr. Tianmin said Huawei has rich experience in communication, and assured that the company’s E-Government project in Liberia would impact the communication highway in the post-war country.
He said Huawei already has representative offices in Liberia, and hoped the Liberian Government would sign a project contract with the company.

Mr. Tianmin said Huawei, which was established in 1988, has more than 87,500 staff with over 100 offices all over the world, including 22 regional offices, and that the company’s annual turnover was USD$23.3 billion in 2008. He said despite the global financial crisis, the company was targeting a turnover of US$D30 billion for 2009.

According to Mr. Tianmin, Huawei hoped that as the Liberian Government attaches great importance to communication, Liberia’s cooperation with the company would be enduring, and mutually beneficial. He said the company produces mobile phones and other communication gadgets and is among the 50 largest companies in the field of communication in the world, with 16 million subscribers worldwide.