Vice President Boakai impressed with Robertsport Trade Fair

Wednesday, 16th December 2009
Monrovia, Liberia - Liberia’s Vice President Joseph N. Boakai says the 3rd Annual Trade Fair held in the resort city of Robertsport in western Liberia over the weekend  bore all the hallmarks of a nation truly on the trajectory  of sustained progress.

He said this Third Made-in-Liberia Annual Trade Fair “represents truly the Liberian spirit working in tandem for the good of the country”, adding, “ progress demonstrated by the Trade fair which was propelled by Liberians, is the strongest indication yet that Liberian businesses and businessmen and women are prepared to be more competitive and to assume primary responsibility for the private sector”.

Vice President Boakai made the observation last Saturday, December 12, when he delivered the keynote address at the closing program of the 3rd Annual Trade Fair held in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County.

The fair which displayed made- in- Liberia art, agricultural produce as well as auto mechanical, blacksmith, carpentry, manufacturing and other products from the country’s 15 political sub-divisions, was organized by the U.S agency, Liberia Community Infrastructure Program (LCIP).
 He applauded the Liberian business community for providing training opportunities and assuming their natural role as job creators.      

Vice President Boakai stressed the need for ensuring food security, noting that as a post-conflict nation confronted with huge challenges, particularly resuscitating the economy, ensuring food security and protecting the homeland, agriculture holds the key to unshackling the nation from the yoke of poverty.

“That is why this government has never hesitated when it came to establishing partnerships with our citizens and partners alike, who have developed keen interest in promoting our agricultural sector, and even traveling long distances to demonstrate such commitment,” he observed.

He challenged Liberians to take ownership of their economy as an essential ingredient to spur economic growth and create national stability, adding, “In order to ensure long-term economic stability and forestall the volatility of economic shocks, as being currently experienced globally, we need home-grown solutions to our economic problems, and this is attained when Liberian entrepreneurs step forward and establish viable industries and companies that retain capital, which circulates in the local economy”.

“To have your economy propelled and driven by foreigners or foreign investors creates the suspicion that they can leave at any time and also repatriate their profits, “ he added noting, “This could be different for Liberian businesses because they would have long term stake in the economic viability of the nation”.

Vice President Boakai said the Unity party-led government has taken keen interest in the development of the private sector which, he noted, is the “main engine of economic growth”, adding, “This is why frantic efforts are being exerted to engender private investments so that more jobs are created and livable wages earned for our people”.

Agriculture, the Vice President  further noted, has the potential to end poverty, and the government’s role is to create a conducive environment where businesses can compete fairly by enforcing regulations and establishing new policies as well as creating preferential terms for Liberian businesses.

He said due to the brain drain occasioned by the civil war, there was need to provide capacity for Liberian businesses both in terms of capital and trained entrepreneurship, if they are to remain competitive and play a leading role in the economic development of the country.

Training, he noted, provides businesses the opportunity to improve skills, strategies and ethics to expand and be successful, and expressed deep appreciation to USAID, through LCIP for meaningfully contributing to the post-war nation’s reconstruction efforts through the training of an estimated 2,640 young men and women from various counties in apprenticeship and other employable skills.

“We need to ensure that businesses are trained so that they become viable and competitive to create the kind of employment opportunities that assist Government to reduce poverty,” he emphasized,  adding, “For our private sector to be successful, Liberian businesses must have training at the core, and I applaud the Liberian Business Association, LCIP and Odafara for conducting training and prioritizing it as well”.

He then applauded the United States Government for consistently demonstrating  their commitment to help ensure the success of Liberia  through US Government assistance and support, since the birth of the nation.

In remarks, United States Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield said there was an improvement in self-sufficiency in  food in Liberia.

She observed that a year ago, every foodstuffs she bought on the Liberian market came from another country, saying, “Now everything in my house comes from Liberia”. This she noted is progress, saying, “Any nation that cannot feed itself cannot boast of being truly independent”.
Also in remarks, the Superintendent of Grand Cape Mount County, Madam Karsue said the trade fair in Robertsport has thrown a challenge to Grand Cape Mountainians  to move forward and repeat what they saw at the fair.