MONROVIA, Montserrado – President-elect George Weah has told Liberians that he will not make the best speeches, but he will make the best decisions in their interest.
“I said to you, I will not make the best speeches for you, but I will make the right decisions,” Weah told a gathering of citizens on Friday. He was speaking during a trade fare exhibition organized by the Liberian Marketplace, a program of small and medium businesses under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry hosted at the Nancy B. Doe Jorkpen Town Market in Sinkor.
The event, dubbed ‘Taste of Liberia,’ was part of several pre-inaugural activities and meant to showcase Liberian-made products, including arts and crafts, fabric, furniture, as well as a variety of traditional Liberian dishes.
The president-elect praised Commerce Minister Axel Addy and stakeholders who continued to promote Liberian-owned small businesses and stressed the need to continue along such path.
After seeing a display of locally-made products, Weah declared that the country was ready for business.
“I believe in local content and I believe in a pro-poor government. I’m going to do my best with my colleagues and both houses [of the legislature] to make sure that we promote Liberian business,” he said.
He stressed the need to promote young Liberian entrepreneurs who will compete with foreign-owned businesses.
“Our country belongs to us, and we must be the first to enjoy the fruits of it,” he said.
He said he believes in market competition because of the many opportunities it offers, including reducing monopoly, which in turn helps to reduce scarcity and lower prices.
“We want as many people to do the same [type of] business, so we can walk to a market place and if you’re selling your goods for seven dollars, I can get it for six dollars. Maybe the seven dollars person can bring it down to five dollars,” he said.
In demonstration of his commitment to prioritize Liberian-made goods, Weah purchased several items displayed on exhibition. He also encouraged his friends and those that would serve in his government to prioritize locally-made products.
“We are not here to take anything from you. We want to make sure that we all work hard so that Liberia moves forward.”
He also promised that his administration would partner with Liberian-owned businesses and provide them with subsidies that would empower them to compete with foreign competitors.
Meanwhile, the Liberia Marketing Association’s President Alice Yeebahn thanked Weah for his commitment. Yeebahn also promised the president-elect that the LMA would support his leadership.
The secretary general of the Liberia Business Association, Leelai Kpukuyou, called on the incoming president to establish partnerships with the private sector if he must succeed in his agenda for the country.
“We are the technicians in this area. We’ve worked with our people; we know exactly what the needs are; we know where the gaps are; we know where the weaknesses are, but we also know what the strengths are,” she said.
She also expressed her hope for an opportunity to discuss with the president-elect how the business community can be of help to his administration.
For his part, Commerce Minister Axel Addy said working with Liberian entrepreneurs constitutes a major achievement for his leadership at the ministry.
He said the trade fare exhibition marked the celebration of the country’s potential, if its people, especially those in the informal sector, can be empowered.
He said entrepreneurs can be the building blocks for “a Liberia at peace with itself and its neighbors; the Liberia with every Liberian working to rebuild a country that is ever transforming for the betterment of all Liberians.”
Featured photo by Aaron Nah