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LIEC, THE Liberian Import & Export Company, "WARMLY" welcomes you for trading-topics and other business-opportunities in Liberia a.o. BANKING, Fishery, Tourism and Consultancy.

EEC Events is in charge of the marketing-communication and business strategy for this company.


PHOTO ALBUM



Willem Tijssen, 28 January 1998


On the request of representatives of the Liberian Government, we visited Liberia especially the Monrovia region, from 17-22 January 1998. Our party comprised of three Dutchmen: a banker , a lawyer and an entrepreneur. During that same period of time, the Dutch minister of development (foreign affairs ) Mr. Jan Pronk visited Liberia. We agreed to contact the Dutch Government representatives after our return to the Netherlands.


Political status

Liberia suffered from a civil war (1990-1997) and is licking its wounds now. In June 1997 democratic elections took place monitored by the UN, headed by Mr. Jimmy Carter, the former president of the U.S.A. During these elections, no incidents took place and with 72% of the votes, Mr. Charles Taylor was elected President. The state budget for 1998 is US$ 41 million.


For more information visit LIBERIA or AFRICAN UNION.




In general

Potentially, Liberia is "The Gateway to Africa". Its soil is unimaginably rich. If one were to stick a broom in the ground it would grow immediately (so to speak!). A true paradise with exotic fruits, valuable natural resources, raw materials, mountains, swamps, tropical woods, wild parks and kilometers long white sandy beaches with palm-trees. When successfully restored, its infrastructure will enable Liberia to become a top tourist destination. The average temperature is 30C (80 F) and the water-temperature 25 C.

The climate is tropical and humid. The two seasons are the rainy (May to November) and the dry. The 2 million inhabitants are friendly, extrovert, well educated, very religious (mainly Presbyterian) hardworking people, and peaceloving in contradiction to the long civil war. In spite of the severe consequences of the civil war, one will not encounter an apathic population but energetic, inventive and pragmatic people. Very inspiring! This surprising attitude combined with the limitless opportunities will transform Liberia soon into a very prosperous industrial country, high above its regional neighbours.

On account of these facts, probably Liberia will not remain a low-salary country, although the current average income per head of the population is only US$ 1.500 per year. Because of enormous amounts of raw material and natural sources, in future Liberia will be strong enough to compete with any prosperious country in the world and still will be able to increase the average income per head of the population dramatically.


Infrastructure

The sea port of Monrovia is reasonably accessible for ships from Europe. Three flights from neighbouring countries arrive on ROB (Roberts International Airport) each day. Unfortunately direct flights from Europe are not yet scheduled and are urgently needed to stimulate the economy quickly.

The ROB runway is one of the longest on the African continent and its surface as well as the taxiways are still fully intact. The main terminal is severely damaged and the former KLM terminal is now used for the handling of passengers, customs-clearance and luggage. Lacking lights at the ruway, nightflights are not yet possible. On request of the President we contacted the Schiphol Airport authorities to make a feasibility study and recommendations for the renovation, development and operation of ROB.

The main roads are reasonable to drive on. In Monrovia-city much repair has to be done. Public transportation takes place in thousands of "Yellow cabs" operating under a so called "shift-by" system. Many taxis bear slogans like "God blessed this car", accentuating the religious conviction of the population. The car-horn is the most noticible noise-polluter in the city.


Recovery

With limited means the reconstruction of the infrastructure is taking place. Along the road from Monrovia to ROB hundreds of labourers dig ditches with hand-shovels and hacks, repairing and renewing the power-supply, waterworks, telephone-wires and sewerage. Monrovia is a hustling city with hectic activities. Shot and scorched buildings are being renovated energetically and street-trade flourishes, producing some wealth.

The main trade is managed by a handful of Lebanese business-people (approx. 4.000). But the Liberians are becoming more and more the traders of the future. Signs are visible at "Red Light" or "Melting Pot", a market transit-place just outside Monrovia where traders from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Guinee, Gambia, Ghana and Burkino Faso meet to buy goods arriving from ships in the port and sell products from their respective countries.


Schooling

On average, the older people have a good education. A university exists in Monrovia and high schools and technical schools are operational again too. During the war many young people went to universities in Europe and the USA. Now, eight months after the war, children from primary schools are dressed in yellow/blue uniforms, confirming the re-establishment of values and discipline.


The challenge

Liberia is a country with unimaginable possibilities and opporunities. To claim its stature in the world, in short term Liberia has to establish the following key targets:

  1. Continuation of (political) stability
  2. Renovation and renewel of infrastructure
    - the ROB international airport with direct European connections
    - hydro-electric power plants
    - implementation of high technology telecommunication
    - improving transportation-system and roads
  3. Re-establish agriculture and cattle-breeding
    - importation of meat and live stock (chickens, pigs and cows)
    - importation of animal food, concentrates and abstracts
    - importation of seeds to cultivate vegetables
    - impotation of fruits for the domestic market
    - export of fruits (mango, papaya, pine-apple, avocado, cassava)
    - export of medicinal herbs and peppers
    - export of tropical hard-wood and timber (50 species)
    - export of bamboo products like mats, fences etc.
    - export of exotic flowers and plants
    - export of fresh fish: lobster and gamba shrimps
    - exploitation of rubber plants
  4. Re-opening of mines (gold, silver, diamonds and iron-ore)
  5. Development of tourism (500 kilometers long sandy beaches)


Trade

During our working-visit we met with almost all ministers, senators, many advisors and also the President. We were requested to assist with the establishment of international trade, import and export, banking and promoting trade-relations. Our major goal is to activate IMBL, the "Investment & Merchant Bank of Liberia". Later in 1998, President Taylor will officially open this bank.

Liberia's future economy-activities will be firmly focussed on Europe (rather than USA). Introduction of a 220 volts electric-system in the whole country is one of the strongest signs for this remarkable switch. Focussing on these developments, European airlines should consider this immediately and start with regular flights to ROB.


LIEC (Liberian Import & Export Company)

EEC's part in this challege will mainly be in the area of trade and development. Two Liberian partners and myself established LIEC. Our first goals are import and export of domestic products and natural resources and the promotion of this beautiful country and its unique opportunities.


Import

  • poultry (meat, wings, legs)
  • pork (legs, tails, spare-ribs, smoked meat)
  • bakery oil, margarine and mayonaise
  • rice
  • live stock (chickens and pigs)
  • seeds and waterpumps
  • batteries, generators, airco's, copiers etc.
  • car/truck spare-parts


Export

  • fruits (short-term: mango, papaya [paw-paw], pine-apple, coconuts, avocados, okra, cassava, watermelon, bananas, cola nut, palmoil, sugar-cane, aubergine)
    (longer-term: coffee, tobacco, coco, tomatoes, cucumbers)
  • bamboo mats/screens and fences (elements)
  • fresh lobster and (gamba) shrimps
  • hard wood products and timber
  • wood scarving art (masks/statues etc.)
  • peppers, medicinal herbs/fruits and vitamin-fruits
  • flowers and plants


Experimental farm

With our partners Mr. John Bestman and Mr. Peter Bemah we established an experimental farm for several tests and demonstrations.

    The farm contains:

  • chicken stables
  • pig stables (300 pigs)
  • barn and stockroom
  • orchard with many domestic fruits
  • 1000 hectares land to cultivate tobacco
  • 1000 hectares to cultivate fruits and vegetables
  • 1000 hectares to increase the orchard




Note: The Dutch firm Royal Sluis provided seeds for tests and research. Soon farmers from the region can come to ensure how the products grow, check the quality and study the yield per acre. This method we will also apply for engines, machines, equipment and live stock.


    Our test-farm has direct need for:

  • incubators
  • animal food (chicken and pigs) and elements and concentrates to grow and produce own animal food
  • (hand) waterpumps, sprayers, fertilizers
  • live stock (chicken, pigs, cows, goats)
  • tobacco machines for the production of domestic cigarettes and tobacco
  • generators (5 to 25 KvA)



Unique Additional Business-opportunities in Liberia

hydro-electricity projects mining (gold, silver, diamond and iron ore) concessions (rubber etc.) agencies/representations especially tourism