President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says ongoing efforts to diversify the Liberian economy from its traditional reliance on export of primary commodities to value addition through manufacturing and agriculture is the key to strong and sustainable growth and development.
A dispatch says President Sirleaf made the comments in Pretoria, South Africa during a working luncheon tendered by NEC, a Fortune 500 firm exploring possibilities for investing in Liberia in areas of energy and communication technology.
She recounted Liberia’s steady growth, which peaked at 7.8 percent before being assailed by the twin menaces of the steep decline in global commodity prices and the Ebola pandemic. ‘With diversification into value addition through small and medium scale manufacturing and value addition to primary products, we are regaining the lost momentum’, she told the gathering.
Also speaking, the Deputy CEO of NEC Africa expressed his Company’s strong desire to invest in Liberia. He said NEC is strongly positioned to contribute to Liberia’s reconstruction drive through direct private investment into key sectors of the economy.
Earlier, President Sirleaf was led on a guided tour of the newly acquired Embassy of Liberia near Pretoria by Ambassador Lois Brutus. The President expressed delight that the government was able to purchase the property, which is located in Pretoria’s historic district, adding that it’s was wasteful to keep spending resources on leasing properties for embassies. She urged the Ambassador and her staff to treat the new edifice with pride and dignity befitting Liberia’s historic status as a luminary nation in Africa.
Ambassador Brutus thanked the President for her support which led to the acquisition of the property. Ellen, Zuma call for more south-south corporations President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her South African counterpart Jacob Zuma have urged more cooperation amongst countries in the southern hemisphere as a means of ameliorating the impact of the current economic crises caused by the steep decline in commodity prices.
A dispatch says the two leaders spoke when President Zuma recently feted President Sirleaf at his residence in Pretoria, South Africa. The Liberian leader called for such cooperation to expand in the areas of trade and financing with regional bodies such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, and China and South Africa) countries reaching out to other developing countries.
President Zuma informed President Sirleaf that the newly formed BRICS bank will extend funding opportunities to countries outside BRICS to support infrastructural development. Both Presidents also discussed regional issues relating to the consolidation of gains made in reforming the African Union and recommitted themselves to working with their counterparts to ensure that the AU remains a critical force for the betterment of the lives of the African people.
She then used the opportunity to thank President Zuma and the people of South Africa for the numerous assistance given to Liberia particularly its support for the Liberian peace process. She urged the South Africa President to nudge business leaders in his country to take advantage of the current positive climate in Liberia by exploring investment opportunities.