Radio interview with CEO Lena Thomas - Marshall
WenLen Export Inc / WenLen UK Ltd attended the Liberia - UK Trade Investment Forum in Monrovia. Our Executives Mr Wendell Nimene and Mrs Victoria Rennie had the opportunity to meet with investors and other officials during the forum.
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Meet Lena Marshall, the entrepreneur opening the doors of international trade for African products. See the article at Smallstarter.
About the Author: John-Paul Iwuoha
John-Paul Iwuoha is an author, impact entrepreneur, business strategist and founder of Smallstarter Africa. He works with entrepreneurs and investors to start up and grow businesses in Africa. His work and articles have been featured on several local and international media, including CNN, The Huffington Post, The Africa Perspective Magazine, Business Day and LinkedIn Pulse, among others. He is the co-author of '101 Ways To Make Money in Africa', the widely-acclaimed book which reveals several interesting business ideas, market opportunities, and inspiring entrepreneur success stories across Africa. For the latest updates on business and entrepreneurship across Africa, follow Smallstarter on Twitter, @smallstarters
Positive Investment Opportunities in Liberia
Focusing on Agriculture
Growing up in Africa, there was always this one discussion centered on Africa’s gaps, corruption and insufficiency, but now the verbal exchange is about the possibility, projects, ventures and investments that hang over Africa. During the November 22, 2016 Trade and Investment forum held in Liberia, under the theme ‘Positive Opportunities in Liberia towards Inclusive Growth and Economic Diversification, the shift in what everyone is talking about now a day doesn’t surprise companies that have been investing in Liberia or the African continent for centuries like Firestone Rubber Plantation.
According to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president and a Noble Peace Prize winner, who spoke at the Liberia-UK Trade Investment forum hosted by National Investment Commission in Collaboration with the British Embassy,
“Building the private sector is very important because that is the only engine that has the sustainability to keep the economy going,” she added.
“We have the capacity to do agriculture, oil palm plantation, coffee, cocoa, all those things traditionally but neglected over the years. In fact we are expanding it to a place where it could become a replacement for rubber as the main economic driver,” she furthered.
For many present, questions arose from MSME business entrepreneurs who attended the forum in hopes of pitching their companies and business ideas to multi-million dollar investors and walking home with a commitment.
Hearing the president market the resources that richly surround Liberia, it is evident that the growth of Liberia can be driven if only it could get past the traditional commodities.
“Traditionally, The Liberian economy has been driven by two major commodities, Iron Ore because we have a mineral country, some diamond and more recently, gold. Rubber is an additional product of the forest and for years being possess by firestone, the largest rubber plantation in the world, that enabled us to move the economy in early days, at a pace that was quite appreciated. As we all know, in times, those two commodities have led to some shocks in terms of price decline. Today we have been trying to do the transformation, focusing on agriculture using the value change to make sure that we begin to have added value in terms of agro processing and being able to explore other types of traditional and nontraditional expanding what we also know we need,” Madam President added.
Meanwhile, Officials from LEC, the government, Import and Export companies, Tourism, Palm oil companies and many international investors used the forum to sketch Liberia’s economic wants, assemble a warm yet beneficial discussion between business owners and the government and most of all highlight the fact that more of Liberia’s resources need to be marketed.
“We need to be able to have more resources to be able to broaden development and to accelerate the pace of development. Clearly there is a need for economic diversification, it is time to broaden the economy, it is time to be able to build the private sector,” Madam President urged.
Also, according to the President, gold is becoming the focus these days with the discovery in places.
‘We know that there will be investment opportunities there. Our petroleum exploration will start again in the first quarter of next year, so we will continue to look beyond, the transformative agenda that we now have in terms of putting agriculture at the center of our activists. I hope this forum will lead to good ideas and also to some investment, or some potential that is out there,” she smiled.
For now, the need for the government to engage is lethal and understanding how business is done, what systems should be in place in making sure Liberia can harvest funds from its resource is important for 2017.
“I hope all of you that are here will be able to give some ideas about what are some of the measures we should take, what are some of the policy’s that we should adopt to be able to move Liberia’s agriculture transformation and that there will be great partnerships that are here who might be able to work with those who have the same interest so that we can leave from this session with some really close deals, meaning we can get some things going, that’s going to contribute to the benefit of both sides,” she ended.