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Liberia could be petroleum exporter to United States

Published date:
Monday, 24 January 2011

In her 6th and final Annual Report to the 52nd Legislature on Monday, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf disclosed that Liberia is on the verge of becoming a petroleum exporter in the coming decade. The Liberian leader who said they anticipated oil exploration off Liberia's coast in the last quarter of the year quickly clarified that before the country exports a drop of oil her government will have the policies in place that dictate how oil wealth will be used for development, stability, and poverty reduction. President Johnson-Sirleaf further explained that if properly managed, resources from oil wealth could be invested to transform Liberia. “This is the future that Liberians voted for; the kind of future parents want for their children,” she stated.

Amidst applause from the jubilant audience, President Johnson-Sirleaf said her administration stands by its accomplishment as necessary steps to bring economic growth that will produce the income for poverty reduction. She explained that these seeds take time to grow, but there is not a single prosperous country in the world that does not have foreign investors. “With foreign investment we get much needed capital, new technologies, access to markets, and world-class training and business development.”

She said the country can now shift its policy and effort to the promotion and development of Liberian enterprises that will create jobs and constitute the middle class, and small farmers that will benefit through outreach and procurement programs of the concessionaires. She reiterated that her administration's plans for the future are all focused on these aims. “First, we want to transfer the bulk of employment to the private

sector, moving away from our present condition where government is the largest employer. Our second goal is to graduate to industrialization so that we begin to manufacture finished goods and add value to exports instead of simply exporting raw materials,” she noted.

President Johnson-Sirleaf pointed out that some Liberian entrepreneurs are already on the forefront, taking advantage of the new environment and incentives. She applauded Mr. Chid Liberty, who is expected to make the first export under the U.S. facility, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which allows African producers to export products to US markets.

The President also recognized Mrs. Josephine Francis, who is engaged in diverse economic activities such as the production of bottled water, dirt bricks and seed multiplication. She said both Mr. Liberty and Mrs. Francis are examples of the potential of Liberian entrepreneurship.

President Johnson-Sirleaf cautioned Liberians that to tap into that potential the people have to attain the education and skills that investors will need. She assured the listening audience that her government will therefore expand the network of vocational training institutes around the country, especially in places where concessions are operating. “In the very near future, the Monrovia Vocational Technical Center will be reconstructed and expanded. The Booker Washington Institute is also being renovated and equipped to provide better skills training opportunities for our unemployed youths,” the President stated.

On other issues, President Johnson-Sirleaf said as a first step in their plans for decentralization, in 2006 for the first time in the country's history, her government allocated budget resources directly to the counties and established the County Development Fund. She said under a conceptually sound policy, development priorities would be determined by the people themselves through their selected local representatives. “Since this policy was implemented, over US$15 million has been allocated to the 15 counties. This has provided funds for roads, schools, power, public buildings, clinics, scholarships and other activities.”

“As you know, we have had some major violations in the way the funds have been managed, sometimes out of ignorance of procurement laws, sometimes from plain fraudulent practices. We are now taking corrective measures,” she noted. As a result of those violations, the President said her administration has also changed the procedures so that all construction work under the County Development Funds will now be undertaken by an external autonomous agency under a contractual arrangement with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Liberia's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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