Monrovia - A group of local businesses have been formed into a consortium to lead business growth in Liberia.
The Consortium of Business Service Providers was constituted at the end of a two days training for business service providers at a local hotel in Monrovia. The training was conducted by USAID Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX). After the workshop, business representatives conducted an election to elect an interim leadership that will spearhead the activities of the Consortium until a proper and well organized election is conducted. The interim leadership of the consortium was drawn from participants who attended the training. The Consortium will replace IBEX as its mandate expires in few weeks. The Consortium is charged with the responsibility of building a network of professional service providers in the business development sector and elevating the conversation of business development across sectors. The Consortium of Business Service Providers was also formed to ensure the National Business Development and Advisory Center (NBDAC) framework becomes a reality. IBEX Chief-of-Party, Watchen Harris Bruce, said the formation of the consortium is an exit strategy of the organization that ends its mission in May this year. Madam Bruce said before the mission of IBEX ends, she will introduce the consortium to all government ministries, agencies and other partners. “We will make sure that you are known by all of our partners to do business with you since our mandate has ended. This consortium is not being founded by IBEX. I know you trust your colleagues that were elected to head you today, we welcome you as our child we leaving behind,” she noted. Those elected to head the consortium are William Dennis of the Business Start-up Center as Chairman, Samuel Thompson of the Agency of Economic Development and Empowerment as Co-Chairman and Augustus Flomo of IBEX as Secretary. Others are Edwina Lincoln of Business Link as Assistant Secretary, Natty B. Davis of Devin Incorporated as Advisor on Institutional Affairs and Sophiatou Colliee of Pact Liberia as Advisor on Legal Affairs. The USAID/Liberia DCA provides a loan portfolio guarantee to two participating partner banks, International Bank and Ecobank. USAID Liberia’s DCA risk guarantee program allows partner banks to lower their risk for lending to renewable energy and agribusiness borrowers, through a 50% risk-share of any net loss on their loans. The Liberia/IBEX program builds the capacity of partner banks to fully utilize the DCA risk guarantee and provide technical assistance support to the borrower. The program has 3 components: Providing technical support and capacity building for SMEs in the agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure, construction, general merchandise, transportation and hospitality chain sectors, with the aim of increasing use of the DCA Providing technical support and capacity building for partner banks, International Bank and EcoBank, to facilitate lending to SMEs and increase their use and management of the DCA. The entity is working with the Government of Liberia and Business Development Services Providers to ensure that the public and private sector are provided with the services of IBEX once the program ends.