This year’s Liberian Business Forum, held on June 13, 2013, incorporated the “Vision 2030” agenda, Liberia’s long-term vision for social-economic and political transformation and development social and economic development. The forum, which was organized by The Honorable Cynthia Lynn Blandford, Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Liberia, and her team, was attended by a total of 125 guests. The Honorable Christopher Nippy, First Secretary for Political and Consular Affairs, and The Honorable Doliakah Quoimie were special guest from the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia, Washington D.C.
Opening remarks regarding the importance of economic investment in developing countries were brought forward by Steven Brereton, the Consul General of Canada and Vice Dean of the Atlanta Consular Corps, thereby confirming the international interest in Liberia. The President of the World Trade Center Atlanta, the Honorable John Parkerson, Honorary Consul General Hungary, provided remarks on behalf of the World Trade Center and expressed appreciation in partnering with and hosting the Liberian Consulate Office at their location. Dr. Etrenda Dillon, President of The Global Center for Teaching, Learning and Development (GCTLD), introduced Hon. Nippy as the keynote speaker for the day.
Honorable Christopher Nippy then took the chance to brief the attendants on Liberia’s civil war history, its steps toward a peaceful transformation of the country, and most importantly its growing economic development. He further laid out the various natural resources and their potential as sources for growth in Liberia, thus encouraging foreign investment in the country. Honorary Nippy also highlighted the increased import and export taking place in Liberia’s national ports. During a Question & Answer session the attendants showed a keen interest in Liberia and its future social and economic role, both regional and international.
Curtis Foltz, the Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, underlined Honorary Christopher Nippy’s remarks on the importance of national ports and international port agreements, as can be found in the Sister Port Agreement between the Georgia Ports Authority and the National Ports Authority of Liberia. Michael Nyenhuis, President of MAP International, a Christian relief organization that recently launched a Buruli Ulcer project in Liberia, presented an opportunity for partners to engage non-profit organizations in their research, internship and collaboration efforts. The Liberian Consul General, a MAP Board member recently returned from a trip to Liberia with the MAP President to present medical supplies and materials to various communities to help combat the ulcer and other medical ailments.
Further remarks and proclamations concluded the Liberian Business Forum and gave way for a prosperous future collaboration between the United States and Liberia. The Governor of the State of Georgia, the Honorable Nathan Deal’s office provided a welcome letter and proclamations were provided by the Honorable Stacey Abrahams, Minority Whip of the State House of Representatives, Commissioner John Eaves, Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, the Honorable Mayor Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta and the Atlanta City Council.
The event was followed by a reception, during which the attendants had the chance to receive further information, exchange ideas and discuss their potential role in Liberia’s economic development.
Special thanks to the Honorary Consul General’s Circle of Friends for their professional assistance in the planning and organizing of this event and to the Coca-Cola Company and the Georgia Ports Authority for their generous sponsorship support.