Arab Today, arab today liberians doing business in a country where nothing works
Last Updated : GMT 09:42:59
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Liberians doing business in a country where nothing works

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Liberians doing business in a country where nothing works

Monrovia - AFP

Plagued by power shortages, an erratic water supply and spiralling inflation, many entrepreneurs in Liberia's capital are finding their efforts to prosper in their newfound peace impossible. The poor but mineral-rich west African state is seeing rapid economic growth led by huge foreign investment in mining but Monrovia's shops, restaurants and bars are struggling to cash in on the boom. "It's a difficult situation to keep a business afloat here. At times you make money and other times... you just have to keep the business going," said Kona Lovely McBorrouah, 38, who has been running the Ngomah Technology cybercafe for five years. Liberia's annual per capita gross domestic product of about $700 is the seventh-lowest of 229 countries ranked by the CIA World Factbook, one place ahead of the Central African Republic. The economy is expected to expand six percent this year after an estimated 8.7 percent growth in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund. But a decade after ruinous back-to-back civil wars that killed 250,000 people over 14 years, the country still doesn’t have functioning sewers, drinking water or a land-line phone system. Garbage collection is non-existent and electricity is scarce, with the state-run Liberia Electricity Corporation supplying just 19,000 paying customers. McBorrouah, who, like most of Liberia's four million people, is not connected to the national grid, runs a generator from 8 am to 10 pm and has to make long trips to a communal water tank. "It's not an easy thing to run a business six days a week on a generator. It's very challenging especially at this time of the year where there is huge inflation. The price of diesel fuel has increased on the market." - Hydro plant bombed - Rebels bombed the Mount Coffee hydro-electric plant 30 kilometres (19 miles) northeast of Monrovia in 1990 and, by the end of the conflict in 2003, the national electricity provider had shut down. Euphoria swept the country in 2006 after Liberians elected Africa's first female president -- and the arrival of foreign-sponsored electricity generators shortly after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took office. By 2010, the Liberian Electricity Corporation (LEC) was up and running again, but using huge generators that run on expensive diesel fuel. But progress has been frustratingly slow and today just 9.2 percent of Monrovia's households are connected and about three percent nationwide are connected to the grid, according to the LEC. Mount Coffee is expected to reopen in 2016 and the government has vowed that it will expand coverage to 70 percent of the population in Monrovia -- but not until 2030. Electricity tariffs are among the highest in the world and a lack of money for new connections is part of the reason it has been so difficult for people to access the grid. Adding to the problems of small business owners, the exchange rate has tanked from 60 Liberian dollars (LRD) for a US dollar barely a year ago to upwards of 86, causing alarm over spiralling costs. Rajesh Lalwani, 30, came from Gujurat in India in 2002 looking for work, and has been the manager of Raj Enterprise for ten years, selling electronic goods imported from China and the Middle East. He is generally happy with the business environment in Monrovia and speaks highly of the hospitality of the locals but also points to the unreliable electricity supply and the weakening of the LRD. "The inflation right now is very high. The exchange rate hit 90 LRD to the US dollar the day before yesterday," he said. - Skills gap - As with smaller businesses, larger corporations -- especially those in the service industry -- identify electricity and the fluctuating currency as big problems. Novafone Liberia launched its first services in September last year, employing 150 people and targeting a 40 percent market share by 2018. "Definitely we are facing the same problems that other companies -- medium, small or large -- are facing," said the company's Lebanese CEO Bechir Khoury. In addition, he pointed to a skills gap, arguing that locals didn't always have the expertise the business required. "Add on top of this the non-availability of very specialised companies with technical skills to respond to your technical needs, or just work with you in order to achieve your targets in a timely manner." he said. Small and medium-sized businessmen concurred that Liberia was a market where a lot of money could be made, if only the infrastructure could be fixed. "The stability of the country is good, which is one of the main factors for a big investor to come and install and make a big investment in Liberia," Khoury told AFP.

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today liberians doing business in a country where nothing works Arab Today, arab today liberians doing business in a country where nothing works

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today liberians doing business in a country where nothing works Arab Today, arab today liberians doing business in a country where nothing works

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today Taxi! Transport gets an overhaul

GMT 12:09 2017 Sunday ,24 September

Taxi! Transport gets an overhaul
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today Turkey warns of 'security' steps

GMT 12:17 2017 Sunday ,24 September

Turkey warns of 'security' steps
Arab Today, arab today North Korea 'more opaque'

GMT 10:50 2017 Sunday ,24 September

North Korea 'more opaque'
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Ministry seeks to improve education

GMT 14:49 2017 Sunday ,17 September

Ministry seeks to improve education
Arab Today, arab today 'Lady Beast' fights for girl gamers

GMT 10:27 2017 Sunday ,24 September

'Lady Beast' fights for girl gamers
Arab Today, arab today Conditions growing dire    

GMT 09:22 2017 Monday ,25 September

Conditions growing dire    
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Third generation adds more power

GMT 13:40 2017 Sunday ,24 September

Third generation adds more power
Arab Today, arab today Carmakers face billions in European

GMT 12:37 2017 Saturday ,23 September

Carmakers face billions in European
Arab Today, arab today Lebleba is preoccupied in filming 'Back Street'

GMT 08:56 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Lebleba is preoccupied in filming 'Back Street'
Arab Today, arab today Psychologists help Mexico deal

GMT 05:05 2017 Sunday ,24 September

Psychologists help Mexico deal

GMT 08:59 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Youssra prepares for launching her program

GMT 10:16 2017 Friday ,22 September

All eyes on May as she prepares

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha

GMT 20:10 2017 Saturday ,23 September

Big Western brands polluting oceans

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 18:11 2017 Saturday ,23 September

Doctor provides advices to families

GMT 13:36 2017 Saturday ,23 September

unveils Joon - the 'millenials' airline

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 12:46 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Google likely to buy stake in Taiwan smartphone maker HTC

GMT 11:37 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Fashion designer reveals her new collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday