Liberia launches National Export Strategy and National Trade Policy
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: National Export Strategy and National Trade Policy show way forward for Liberia’s economic growth and sustainable development
Liberia today (29 April) launched its National Export Strategy (NES) and its National Trade Policy (NTP) with a view to boost the capacities of its private sector and re-connect the country with regional and global markets. The launch, which took place at the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Conference and Trade Fair in Monrovia, comes after several rounds of multi-stakeholder consultations led by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC).
The NES and NTP will function as blueprints for the Government, the private sector and Liberia’s development partners in their joint efforts to help Liberian SMEs enhance competitiveness and value addition. They will guide Liberia’s efforts to generate employment opportunities, improve the business environment and explore means of sustainable growth.
‘I am proud to launch the Liberia National Trade Policy 2014-2019 and the Liberia National Export Strategy 2014-2019. These two documents outline the Liberian Government’s strategy for creating inclusive growth through trade competitiveness,’ said Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s President.
‘The trade policy serves as the Government’s overarching strategy for trade steering the country towards regional integration into ECOWAS and multilateral integration into the World Trade Organization.
The National Export Strategy provides sector support to key sectors where we have the best opportunity to generate export diversification. Through implementing this strategy we expect to create a vibrant and diversified export basket and to open new markets and opportunities for business owners,’ Ms. Johnson Sirleaf said.
ITC Executive Director Arancha González said: ‘Trade is about finding ways of adding value to a country’s goods and services, and through that get greater access to local, regional and global value chains. This is important for all countries, but for a post-conflict such as Liberia, the urgency is greater as trade helps provide stability and security.’
‘Any country wishing to navigate these value chains needs a compass. For Liberia, a least developed country, the National Export Strategy and the National Trade Policy provide a clear direction on how to best take advantage of the country’s natural resources and its people, women and youth, in a sustainable manner,’ Ms. González said.
The NES targets the development of five priority sectors: cassava, cocoa, fish and crustaceans, oil palm, and rubber. The strategy also targets three trade-support functions – access to finance, quality management, and trade logistics and facilitation – which has a positive impact on the export competitiveness of all sectors. Work has also already begun on exploring the opportunities offered by tourism and the furniture sectors.
The NTP, meanwhile, is Liberia’s first policy document that holistically addresses issues related to trade. Its main objective is to promote the integration of Liberia into the global economy through increasing the competitiveness of its businesses, with a focus on the agricultural, industrial and services sectors.
By promoting a balanced relationship between trade integration, sustainable development and social inclusion, the NES and the NTP set out to boost employment generation, improve livelihoods and reduce poverty.
Axel Addy, Liberia’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, said: ’Often businesses cannot access finance to purchase needed equipment. Sometimes farmers cannot get their goods to market, and are left to watch their produce spoil. Other times businesses lack the skills necessary to run and maintain a business. These are exactly the hurdles the NES and NTP seek to overcome: they will guide the implementation of our country’s development programmes and help boost our exports.’
For further information about Liberia’s National Export Strategy and National Trade Policy, please visit ITC’s website: