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Introducing Building Markets Liberia (officially)

Today is a big day for Building Markets in Liberia – we are officially launching the Sustainable Marketplace Initiative (formerly known as the Peace Dividend Marketplace).

The Sustainable Marketplace Initiative will connect entrepreneurs to international buyers based in Liberia, thereby promoting growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), creating jobs and ultimately sustaining peace and stability. The project will offer several products and services including maintaining an online local supplier directory, facilitating business matchmaking and tender distribution, providing training, as well as conducting market research and advocacy.

Although we’ve been on the ground since July 2011 — and the team has been working tirelessly to verify local businesses, meet buyers and other stakeholders, and establish the foundations for the project — today marks several important milestones.  Building Markets is honored to welcome the participation of several key partners and supporters, including the Ministry of Commerce, the National Investment Commission, USAID, BHP Billiton Liberia Iron Ore, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce and the Liberia Business Association, at the public launch event in Monrovia today.

The first major milestone we are celebrating is the official unveiling of the Local Supplier Directory, which is available on theLiberia business portal.  The directory already includes over 1,000 profiles of local businesses in the Greater Monrovia area and will continue to grow.  The information was collected through on-site verification interviews with business owners and managers and brings together important business information, including size, structure, sector and past experience. The directory is searchable by sector, location and business structure and will be updated every six months.  It is intended to be a key resource for buyers looking for capable local suppliers. We hope you will check back often as the directory continues to grow and begins to cover businesses beyond Monrovia.

Second, is a presentation of Seizing Potential: An Overview of the Liberian Marketplace, the first research product of Building Markets in Liberia.  The report contains the most up-to-date and comprehensive data available on the local business community. The Building Markets team surveyed 758 local firms from across the Monrovia region, and nine major international buyers. The main purpose of the report is to examine the landscape of the Liberian market as well as the nature and scope of the obstacles to local procurement.

The survey found that local businesses demonstrate great potential to meet the needs of international buyers in Liberia, despite being relatively small. Fifty-eight per cent of firms in the sample employ fewer than five people, and yet many suppliers deliver goods and services in high demand from international buyers.  The survey also found that there is strong potential for local purchasing to make a considerable impact in Liberia.  On average, 71 cents of every dollar spent on local procurement will be re-spent within the local economy through wages paid to staff or goods and services sourced from other local businesses – also known as the multiplier effect. Download the report here to find out more about the landscape of the local market in Liberia.

The third milestone is the official announcement in Liberia that Peace Dividend Trust (PDT) is now called Building Markets. The change reflects our mission to build markets, create jobs and sustain peace in developing countries by championing local entrepreneurs and connecting them to global supply chains. We’re looking forward to applying this market driven approach in Liberia where, as Seizing Potential shows, there is great opportunity for sustained private sector growth through local procurement.

Finally, with this post, we are officially launching the Sustainable Marketplace Liberia blog. The blog is a place where we will share project news, promote local suppliers and foster discussion on private sector development in Liberia and the region. In the coming weeks we will introduce each member of the stellar Building Markets team in Liberia on the blog.

The Sustainable Marketplace Initiative in Liberia is made possible with the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as the generous support of Humanity United and BHP Billiton Liberia Iron Ore.

 

 

 

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