The Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Rashad Kaldany, has pledged the IFC and the World Bank's commitment to Liberia's long-term development. Mr. Kaldany, arrived here on Monday, for a three-day official visit.
Speaking at events marking the launch of IFC's Congo Town office Tuesday, Kaldany said though there are many challenges yet to overcome in the good progress Liberia has made thus far, he assured that they will work side-by-side [with] public and private sector counterparts to help create jobs and build infrastructure in the country, among others.
He said the IFC offices in Congo Town demonstrate the institution's commitment to helping the country achieves lasting growth and prosperity.
"We all know that Liberia has suffered through a difficult past, but it has made many remarkable achievements in the last ten years... Liberia has embraced democracy; elected Africa's first female head of state; it is making reforms necessary to strengthen its economy to attract investment and create opportunity for its people," said Kaldany.
He stressed that Liberia's commitment to development can be seen in a public-private partnership facilitated by IFC and government's launching of a modern business registry that has cut time to formalize a business from 99 hours to only 48 hours.
The event was graced by several Liberian Government officials and heads of business organizations in the private sector, including Commerce Minister Miatta Beyslow, National Investment Commission (NIC) Chair O. Natty B. Davis, and the Liberia Business Association (LIBA) President Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, among others.
In a related development, the IFC chief and the Liberian officials later converged at the Bella Casa Hotel on Third Street, Sinkor for the launch of the Women Entrepreneur's Newtwork (LIWEN).
At the indoor ceremony in Sinkor, Kaldany said women in Liberia have strong history of actions to steer their country in the right direction, making direct reference to Liberian women's mass action for peace when they went all out to ending the civil war. He said all over the continent, women entrepreneurs have an important economic and stabilizing role to play, especially in post conflict and fragile states.
But he said for women to reach their full economic potential, access is critical in the midst of great challenges they face in accessing business opportunities, skills and funding to grow their business and fully impact their countries' economic growth.
"This is why since 2007; IFC has been working to unleash the potential of women business owners in markets where we work. Specifically in Africa, we've worked with Commercial Banks to increase their ability to address the needs of women entrepreneurs in a profitable way," he added.
He revealed that IFC has trained over 5000 women entrepreneurs on financial and business management skills to enhance their bankability.