Liberia: Regional Economic Group Calls on Liberia To ‘Develop Agro-Industrial Value Chain’

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Monrovia – Bakary Dosso, Acting Director of Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) Sub regional Office for West Africa, says for the success of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development there is a need for Liberia to develop agro-industrial value chains for sustained and inclusive development.

Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]

He also called for integrated interventions to improve the business environment including infrastructures, financial sector, the governance and the human capital in Liberia.

He spoke at the closure of the meeting with West African Journalists held on the theme of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which provides an exchange on information on the “ins and outs of the agreement”.

The ECA also launch the Country Profiles series aim at creating a platform for policy dialogue on countries specific macroeconomic and social development challenges and opportunities to achieve structural transformation.

Its methodology is primarily based on the compilation of data from credible national sources which provide an evaluation of the data collected.

Mr. Dosso said the ECA has produced a country profile for each of its 54-member States.

Speaking about the summary of the Liberian economy, he said it is still undiversified and vulnerable to external shocks.

Most of its export revenue is generated by two main raw materials (iron ore and rubber), which alone account for almost 75 percent of total export revenue.

According to him, poverty incidence in Liberia is high and estimated at 54.1% in 2014.

He says poverty is mainly rural with an incidence of 70% in rural areas and 43.3% in urban areas.

Mr. Dosso said poverty is also closely related to the level of education with 69.3% of the un-educated individuals are affected by poverty.

“The health system remains fragile as experienced with the past Ebola epidemic where nearly 4,000 people died. The maternal mortality ratio deteriorated over the years from 260 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1986 to 1,072 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013,” he said.

Robert Fagans, Deputy Minister for Planning of Ministry of Agriculture, said there are several challenges but the governmnet is working with farmers to reduce the 35,000 metric tons of rice that are imported a year.

He said the ministry is collaborating with institutions to ensure that farmers switch from rudimentary to mechanical farming.

AfCFTA is expected to catalyze Africa’s industrial transformation, while reinforcing inter-country trade as well as investment, on the other hand, and between Regional economic communities that will be in accordance with the sustainable development goals (SDGs)and the African Union agenda 2063.

The West Africa network of Economics journalists is made up of 30 journalists drawn from ECOWAS 15 members states.

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