President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has renewed government's support to Liberian market women and challenged them to continue being an engine of growth.
"I am passionate about the conditions of the women who are the principal contributors to Liberia's economy, who run our informal economy and who feed this nation," President Sirleaf said, making reference to the women who risked their lives during wartime, in the search for food; the women who today cross borders to bring in goods; women who travel long distances, from their small farms, to sell what they produce in the markets in order to provide for their families. "I'm talking about the resilient market women of Liberia - and other countries - who are the bedrock of our society," the Liberian leader stressed.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Tuesday, December 4, at the end of a one-day Study Tour Conference involving market women from three countries, held at the Paynesville City Hall. The Sirleaf Market Women's Fund (SMWF), in collaboration with the Joyce Banda Foundation in Malawi and the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) in Ghana, undertook a 17-day, three-country study tour titled "Advancing Economic Empowerment of Women: Cross-learning and Exchange Programme of Market Women from Liberia, Ghana and Malawi." The program was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme.
A five-member team from the Liberian Marketing Association (LMA) traveled to Malawi for four days and met with the Joyce Banda Foundation. The group then traveled to Ghana, along with their Malawian counterparts, for another four days and met with the AWDF. All the participants then came to Liberia for a four-day wrap-up that ended with Tuesday's Conference which included major stakeholders.