President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is calling for investment that will diversify agriculture, mainly in the areas of cocoa, coffee and oil palm sectors, to replace the two traditional engines of the Liberian economy iron ore and rubber.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the call on Tuesday when she delivered the keynote address at the opening of a one-day Liberia-United Kingdom Trade and Investment Forum, held in the Ball Room of the Monrovia City Hall in Monrovia. President Sirleaf said as a result of decline in the prices of iron ore and rubber, which have been the fulcrum of the Liberian economy over the years, there was a need for those gathering at the Liberia-UK Trade & Investment Forum to focus on diversifying their investments particularly in the agriculture sector. She urged a focusing on the cultivation of cocoa, coffee and oil palm industry to benefit farmers involved and grow the Liberian economy. President Sirleaf said while she was quite aware that investors at the forum, including representatives from Arcelor Mittal, APM Terminal, Equatorial Oil Palm, Dawnus, Hummingbird, African Petroleum and Bollore are all from Great Britain, she hoped that they will see the need to diversify their investment opportunities in Liberia, particularly in the agriculture sector. “If the issue of diversifying investment opportunities in Liberia is taken seriously by representatives of various British companies targeting the agricultural sector - to the point where farmers will eat, sell, and export; the Liberian economy is expected to pick up for the better,” she observed. Speaking earlier, British Ambassador to Liberia, David Belgrove, recalled that in 2012, an investment forum of this nature initially took place in London, Great Britain, with recommendations that the next meeting takes place in Liberia to enable British companies, which have not been in Liberia before, to come on the ground and see investment opportunities for themselves. Ambassador Belgrove assured the gathering that the role of the British Government is to cooperate and collaborate with sub-Saharan countries, including Liberia, in supporting economic growth for the benefit of those countries and their citizenry. He said such diversifications in investment focus of country like Liberia is likely to benefit many people because it creates opportunities for many, including about eight Liberians who have had the opportunity study in the United Kingdom, in different fields of interest. For her part, NIC Chairperson Etmonia Tarpeh, said government will continue to support its economic policy with a plan to diversify investment opportunities aimed at focusing on the agricultural sector. She assured the gathering that Liberia was now ready for business and as such, all those wishing to invest in the country should be assured that the NIC is ready to support them.