Liberia's hope

Published: 01-JAN-00

Liberia hopes the millennium will bring with it strategic alliances that will allow the economy to realise its potential, writes PRESIDENT CHARLES TAYLOR

Growing out of the Allied victorv in World War II in the mid-forties and American President Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal", a former Liberian president, William VS Tubman, introduced the open door policy in a free enterprise capitalist system.

The pound sterling, the legal tender since Liberia's independence in 1847, was changed to the US dollar in 1947 in anticipation of attracting micro- investments, foreign entrepreneurship and general economic strength in the country.

As Liberia emerges from a century-and-a-half of economic challenges resulting from ever-expanding market forces beyond its control, priorities have now been set by my administration on food security, local processing of the country's vast mineral, forestry and agricultural resources to spread employment and income generation to grassroots level.

The pivot of the open door policy remains the strict adherence to international standards for trade, industry and public services among others and the promotion of stratified development and revenue-generation in resource pockets of the country through the granting of generous investment incentives.

Unrestricted repatriation of profits from business activities in the country continues to be a major attraction for investors. A new strategy for economic development, national stability and human rights protection has been out- lined as a bedrock of investment policy.

Through rigorous initiatives, the government shall strengthen existing ties of friendship and economic support for its National Reconstruction Programme. As a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, Liberia shall exercise its sovereign rights of reciprocal diplomacy to cultivate North-South and South-South co-operation.

The concept of "exportable development" is based on the principle that those developed nations that possess certain comparative advantages such as excess productive capacity could underpin biregional co-operation by transposing into Liberia technological and technical expertise . The resulting industrialisation could be catalyst to economic recovery.

By forming a strategic alliance with Liberia to promote growth, development and advancement in areas that are mutually beneficial, those

developed nations whose industrialisation has arrived at the point of saturation, may begin to be affected by the phenomenon of diminishing returns.

Other factors of eco-friendly industries and efficient disposal of waste and effluence in these nations may also negatively impact on the quality of life of their citizens.

Liberia is a natural candidate for implementation of the exportable development concept, with four deep sea Ports (Monrovia, Buchanan, Greenville and Harper), a major international airport, Roberts International, and the benefit of decades of experience in the transhipment of goods and services.

Prior to the just-ended civil war, Liberia was one of the few countries on the African continent to maintain a favourable balance of trade. Its geo-political location is of significance as a gateway to lucrative global markets in Southern Africa, North and South America, as well as the European Union countries.

Liberia enjoys vast natural resources, arable lands, rich eco-systems, timber . and fisheries, which, with proper management and technology will blossom into a modern state through our concept of exportable development.

Seismic surveys indicate the possible existence of both on-shore and off-shore oil with lucrative prospects for repayment of development assistance funds, as well as for equity participation of government in viable joint ventures. Numerous rivers have hydro-electric potential which, if developed, would adequately support industrial development in Liberia.

Lastly, human resources of skilled and unskilled labour at relatively low cost enables us to have a positive role in any "strategic alliance" in exportable development. Liberia's demographic profile shows a youthful, strong and trainable population of approximately 3 million people.

This strategy therefore entails an unprecedented trend in economic co- operation whereby Liberia would serve as a prime location for the relocation of excess and future production capacity, as well as adaptable technologies in a "marriage" of mutual benefits, with cost-efficient factors for trade access and linkages to developed markets. Our hope for the millennium is that Liberia becomes one large integrated "free zone" for the establishment of activities in manufacturing and trade, as well as a receptacle for expanded productive capacity and reliable conduit for excess consumer goods.

Print this page Send this article to a friend

Market news on your cellphone
Get live JSE listed shares, warrants, major indices, brent crude oil, international markets, agricultural futures & daily market analysis via SMS on your mobile.
Find out more...

Energy in Africa
Energy in Africa is an intelligent and in-depth look at how energy impacts people, places, projects, price and development around the African continent.
Subscribe now...

African Business Leaders Forum
African business and public sector leaders define and construct a prosperous future for the continent.
Find out more...

Online travel bookings
Planning to travel? Book accommodation in Africa & South Africa here.
Book now...

Contact us | Advertising | Subscriptions | Newsletter | About us | Employee Email

All material copyright Business in Africa. All rights reserved. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission. Read these terms & conditions. Read our privacy statement and security statement. Powered by Mail & Guardian Online & The domains, are owned by Business in Africa.