Pres. Weah launches US$40m Investment, Finance & Trade Project
President Dr. George Manneh Weah on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 launched a major finance and trade project geared towards improving Liberia’s investment climate.
The project, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is also crucial for jobs creation as well as the economic empowerment of the Liberian people.
One of Liberia’s outstanding partners, the World Bank, is funding the US$40 million project.
Officially launching the project, President Weah said it was a further demonstration of his Government’s commitment to making groundbreaking reforms across all sectors of the economy, with support from donors and development partners.
“I believe this support continues to be given more frequently and in greater magnitudes because my administration continues to exhibit fiscal discipline and financial prudence in the implementation of these projects,” the President stressed.
According to the President, the LIFT-P is intended to improve Liberia’s investment climate, expand access to finance, and increase the efficiency of trade.
He added that the project also incorporates features that seek to address gaps that have been identified between men and women with respect to their participation in economic activities in the Liberian economy.
According to the Liberian Leader, the project will monitor the extent to which activities are contributing towards closing gender gaps by measuring, among other things, the number of women-led Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who will get trained under the program; the number of women-led SMEs that will get a loan through the project; and the number of National Single Window users who are women.
President Weah emphasized that the Project is to assist with the facilitation of private investment, trade, and access to finance, support activities organized under three complementary components, such as Investment Climate and Trade; SME Access to Markets and Finance, and Digital Financial Services infrastructure.
He said there would also be a fourth component for project management: monitoring and evaluation, as well as contingency emergency response.
The Chief Executive added: “With the procurement of a new digital platform for the Liberia Business Registry under this Project, I am also informed that the challenges faced with the registration of businesses and renewal of certificates will soon be over, as new businesses will now be able to be registered within a matter of hours, something which currently takes weeks to complete.”
President Weah stressed that the project should considerably enhance the ease-of-doing-business index for Liberia, indicating that he was also informed that the LIFT-P Project would support the National Single Window and the provision of a National Electronic Payment Switch.
“These new trading platforms will allow you to transact your business online, even if you are in your village or out of this country, and make instant payments between banks,” he said.
This, according to the President, is part of the promise that the President made in his inaugural oration in 2018 that the Liberian people would not be mere spectators within their own economy, meaning that the government would have to create the enabling environment to enable them to contribute meaningfully and participate fully in every aspect of business, trade, and commerce.
“I am grateful that my promise becomes easier to fulfill through projects such as this,” he said, assuring partners that his government remains fully committed to the implementation of the project.
He also expressed optimism that the success of the project would inspire the World Bank to commit more resources in support of Liberia’s national development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
President Weah said his administration would continue to provide the necessary political support and create an environment that is so conducive for investment, trade, and commerce.
He thanked the World Bank Group for its continuous engagement and support to Liberia while also extolling all those who have worked, particularly Commerce Minister Mawine G. Diggs, who chairs the National Project Steering Committee for the LIFT-P Project.