Meet Matt Jones: Country Director
One thing we’re keen to do on Building Markets’ country blogs is help you get to know the people behind each project’s success. We like to talk about success, but we also want to showcase the people who are directly responsible for it. With our newest project in Liberia ramping up, we’re taking the opportunity to do that right from the start. Every Monday and Thursday we will introduce you to a member of the team in Liberia through this blog. Read on for one profile below.
“While there are enormous challenges here of nearly every variety, what people can’t know unless they spend time here is the remarkable progress that Liberia is making as a society and as an economy,” Matt says. “I believe the country’s advancement is only just beginning. It is inspiring to witness, and hardly a day goes by where I don’t stop for a second to appreciate how lucky I am to play even a tiny part in this country’s growth and resurgence.”
Matt led the establishment of the Sustainable Marketplace Initiative in Liberia, including everything from finding an office, recruiting and training staff – which he calls “a really exceptional group of professionals that have already accomplished an extraordinary amount” – and cultivating external relations.
Matt was uniquely poised to lead the Building Markets team. He had been working in Liberia since October 2008 on early-stage private equity and venture capital investments. He fell in love with the country, both personally and professionally, and it quickly became a second home to him.
But life in Monrovia isn’t all work. When he’s not being overworked by Building Markets, you can find him writing his blog, Moved 2 Monrovia, drawing (he has a degree in architecture) or enjoying his favorite local dishes: palm butter with “Kissmeat” (hermit crab) or cassava fish with groundpea sauce. “I am lucky to also have my family here with me, including my two miniature wire-haired dachshunds, Heathrow and Wilton,” Matt says. ” They make me very happy.”
Despite having witnesses numerous challenges in Liberia, Matt is optimistic about the country’s future. “Liberians are generally friendly, hard-working, and eager to learn and seize new opportunities,” he says. “The immense foreign investment that this country has begun to realize in the last few years is an unparalleled opportunity to transform this economy, create jobs, and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Liberians.”