The Inquirer (Monrovia)

20 November 2012

Liberia: Dutch Trade Delegation in Town

A Multi-sectorial Trade Mission from The Netherlands under the banner of the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC) is in the country to look for opportunities and partnerships, and plans to invest in Liberia in the future.The delegation arrived in the country on Sunday as guest of the Liberian government and on Monday representatives of several business entities from the Netherlands began discussion with authorities of the National Investment Commission (NIC), the Liberia Business Association (LIBA) and other key institutions of government.

According to the group, Liberia has shown a tremendous and steady growth in GDP over the past years and new opportunities for doing business emerge, even as it is faced with serious challenges concerning employment, job generation and developing its private sector and industry.

The business delegation averred that Liberia's economic renaissance is increasingly celebrated internationally and a mark of this progress is the arrival of the Netherlands African Business Council Trade Mission to Liberia.

Close to dozen representatives from large Dutch firms, representing construction, maritime & offshore, transport, aviation and engineering industries, are visiting Liberia to see how feasible it can be for opportunities and partnerships, and plans to invest in the future of Liberia.

Our reporter disclosed that the Dutch trade delegation is very enthusiastic to visit Liberia. As one of the representatives describes it, "I'm hearing exciting things about business in Liberia, for me it's about seeing the many opportunities that are here first hand, but of course also simply to get to know this beautiful country. The organizers of the trade mission recognize the similarities between the Netherlands and Liberia."

According to Richard van Hoolwerff, country manager from SPARK-Liberia, "The two countries both have large coastlines, big rivers, and have acted as the strategic gateway to a wider economic region. Sectors that seem extremely relevant are transport, maritime & offshore, construction and agriculture. The Netherlands has some globally leading companies in these sectors. It makes a lot of sense to connect to Liberia right now. Both nations will benefit from that," Richard van Hoolwerff explained.

The trade delegation is meeting representatives from the Government of Liberia, including NIC and LIBA and is expected to visit the Freeport of Monrovia and participate in a business seminar where they will hear information about import and export, the investment climate in Liberia and other regulations.

A special dinner has been organized with the Liberian Business Association, whereby the trade delegation will meet representatives from LIBA member businesses. Their business opportunities will be discussed and information shared.

Mr. Matthew Jones, Country Director, Building Markets which is one of the key organizers says, "This trade mission fits perfectly with our mission to build markets, create jobs and sustain peace in Liberia by championing local entrepreneurs and connecting them to new business opportunities."

According to Mr. Jones, during the trade mission Building Markets will utilize its Sustainable Marketplace Initiative's "Matchmaking Service" to match the Dutch companies with potential local suppliers.

He said the Multi-sectorial Trade Mission event is organized by the Netherlands-African Business Council, in collaboration with LIBA, Building Markets and SPARK.

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