Liberia: An Emerging Hub for Ribbed Smoked Sheets Processing in West Africa

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MONROVIA — GROW Liberia, in collaboration with the National Investment Commission, is hosting an investment summit on June 19 to showcase Liberia’s emergence as a burgeoning hub for Ribbed Smoked Sheets rubber processing in West Africa. 

With close to a century of experience as one of Africa’s leading natural rubber producers, over 100,000 hectares of rubber plantations under cultivation, and technical colleges offering courses in rubber cultivation and processing to a youthful workforce, Liberia is well positioned to grow its prominence as a Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS) producer in West Africa. 

For the rubber sector in Liberia, RSS represents an alternative, less capital-intensive form of processing with the potential to involve a wider range of actors in value addition. 

RSS is an intermediary rubber product used to manufacture a range of finished goods from tires, to medical supplies, hoses, and footwear. It is preferred for its quality and durability, attracting a premium price on international markets.

An RSS processing facility has operated in Margibi County since 2015 and as of mid-2019, two further facilities are nearing completion along Liberia’s rubber farming belt. RSS production in Liberia is expected to exceed 1,500 tons per year in 2020. At these volumes, local skills development and established supplier relationships should ease the investment climate for new processors.

This investment summit will bring together businesses, investors, government agencies, financial institutions, and development programs to discuss the investment opportunity for RSS, share experiences from the first Liberian RSS facilities and form connections that enable further investment and establish Liberia as a burgeoning hub for RSS processing in West Africa.  

“With almost a century of experience as a major rubber producer, there’s no reason why Liberia shouldn’t be a major supplier for international buyers looking to expand their RSS sourcing networks,” said YoQuai Lavala, GROW Liberia’s team lead. “We’re aiming to generate momentum for investors interested in the RSS opportunity in Liberia.”

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