Liberia is steadily rebuilding its infrastructure and economy after two devastating civil wars. The EU is supporting this effort through its National Indicative Programme for Liberia 2014-2020, which includes a wide range of EU-funded projects. At the bilateral level, Belgium sent a trade delegation of high-level Belgian CEOs to Liberia in January this year to explore investment and partnership opportunities. Isaac W. Nyenabo II, Liberia’s Ambassador to Belgium, discusses his country’s recent progress and strong FDI appeal.
European Times: Can you describe relations between the EU and Liberia?
Isaac Nyenabo II: The Liberian Government’s development priorities for the coming decade will primarily focus on, Energy, Infrastructure, Health Care, Education and Agriculture. These were classified by the September 2013 Liberia Constrain Analysis as key areas the Government needs to focus its resources on, in order to achieve its economic recovery goals, especially in the area of Poverty Reduction and sustainable Economic revitalization. The EU has already had a major impact in all four areas. Organizational accountability, Security Sector Reform, and transparency are also areas receiving support form the European Union.
Within the Private Sector, the EU supports Microfinance projects that provide low-interest loans to local Small and medium size enterprises and start-ups entrepreneurs.
European Times: Why should European investors choose Liberia?
Isaac Nyenabo II: Liberia has developed a more flexible and comprehensive investment and tax benefits for large and small businesses wanting to do business in Liberia. Over the years, this improved system has uplifted the investment climate and has attracted serious Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) interests to Liberia. There is a strong and sustained political will from the Government of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to support, promote and protect businesses in Liberia. The improved system takes into account a mechanism that aids Investors through transparent information sharing and cooperation. European Investors have taken keen interests in the emerging Tourism sector, Commerce, Construction, Transportation, Fishing, Agriculture, and Energy. The Liberian Government is aware that if foreign investors are being successful in Liberia, this will attract more positive interests and increase economic growth and private sector employment.
European Times: What are some high-potential investment opportunities in Liberia?
Isaac Nyenabo II: Liberia encourages investment in projects which will add value to the country’s rich and diverse resources, which include minerals, iron, rubber and oil. The emerging Tourism sector has great growth potential in Liberia. With an amazing coastal line and great white sandy beaches, the country can boast of one of the world natural Tropical Forests with diverse species of animals and trees. Liberia has one of the longest coastlines in West Africa as well as many undeveloped natural landscapes.
Several EU programmes are already underway to encourage investment in tourism projects in Liberia. Liberia needs capacity-building, new technologies, skills transfer and other support. Liberia offers a young population, a very investor-friendly government and outstanding opportunities in many areas.
European Times: What is your personal message to potential investors and partners?
Isaac Nyenabo II: Please come visit Liberia, meet our government leaders and see for yourself all the FDI advantages this country offers. Liberia is very open to international partnerships.