Liberian Female Entrepreneur To highlight Challenges of Road, Transport Sector at Conference in Germany
Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr. [email protected]
Monrovia – The National Treasurer of the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC), Kimberly Kpan Toure is a Liberian woman chosen among women from across the world to attend a conference in Germany.
Madam Toure, who is also the CEO Tumarsi Construction Company, is expected to speak at the International Transport Conference “Women Mobilize Women” on May 22 in Leipzig, Germany.
Toure was selected from a list of influential women from across the world working to improve the transport sector and she is being sponsored by the German government and GIZ.
She will be representing Liberia and the project “Capacity Development in the Transport Sector” of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supported by the German Federal Government.
The conference “Women Mobilize Women” with focus on “Transforming Mobility through Female Empowerment” is organized by the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI).
Through this conference, TUMI is kick-starting a debate on the role and potential of women in the transport sector.
As an actively involved female agent of change who has worked in the construction industry for more than 10 years, Toure has been selected to also share her perspectives on the challenges and experiences of business women in developing and emerging economies and involvement of the private sector in Liberia.
Participation at this conference is an opportunity for Liberian businesses to be represented at the international level to encourage cooperation and look for synergies with international organizations and companies.
As part of her presentation during the conference, Madam Toure said, “I will emphasize the need for Liberian contractors to be empowered to begin implementing bigger construction projects including pavement of roads.”
She noted that despite the existing Small Business Empowerment Act (SBA 2014) ensuring that “in respect of each fiscal year of the Government, at least 25% of all public procurement contracts shall be allocated and provided to Liberian-owned MSMEs, of which at least 5% shall be allocated and provided to Women-owned MSMEs.”
She said Liberian-owned construction companies do not get the assured public contracts.
“Besides, I will give a clear picture of the challenges the road sector in Liberia faces and highlight the gender inequity which exists in terms of awarding roads and general construction contracts.”
After the conference, Madam Toure as National Treasurer of ALCC will have a meeting with “German Confederation of Small Businesses and Skilled Craftsmen (ZDH)” to discuss opportunities for setting up partnerships and encourage investors.
“This is because I hold the strong belief that expansion of roads throughout Liberia is key to unlocking the country’s economic potential and empowering Liberian MSMEs enhancing local jobs,” she said.
Advisor at the GIZ’ project ‘Capacity Development in the Transport Sector in Liberia’, Yana Tumakova said, GIZ aims to empower Liberian companies in the road construction and maintenance sector.
Poor road conditions in Liberia have made some roads unsafe or inaccessible for types of public transport vehicle which would otherwise be most suitable for the routes concerned and increase operating costs for all vehicle types.
It is recognized that improved road conditions are necessary for all transport, not only public transport, and this issue is being addressed as the Liberian economy recovers.
To address some of the transportation challenges in Liberia, the GIZ has taken the initiative to focus on capacity development and improvement of the transportation sector of Liberia.
GIZ Project ‘Capacity Development in the Transport Sector in Liberia’ is supporting the institutional development of the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC) and its services, particularly through establishing training programs for their members, among other activities.
She said with GIZ support, the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) enables leaders in developing countries and emerging economies to create sustainable urban mobility. It offers technical consultancy and financial support for innovative ideas.
Similarly, the configuration of the roads and management of road traffic is equally important for all transport, particularly in Monrovia.
Congestion and poor traffic management increase the cost of (public) transport by reducing operating speeds and thus increasing fuel consumption and general wear and tear, and by reducing the productivity of the vehicles taking into account time spent in traffic so that a greater number is required to provide a given level of service.
This, in turn, increases the fares which passengers must pay. Problems of traffic congestion are becoming serious in Monrovia and must be addressed as a matter of urgency, she said.