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“Tech Attracts Investment, Promotes MSME,” Commerce Minister Addy Says

first_imgThe Minister of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Axel M. Addy, said an innovative economy is a dynamic and attractive one, and showcasing progress on the Information Communication Technology (ICT) front can help Liberia to attract investment and promote micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) across the country.Minister Addy made the assertion Thursday at the kickoff of this year’s MSME conference held at the Liberian Marketplace in Sinkor, which was graced by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; United States Ambassador Christine Elder; John B. S. Davies, President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI); Frederick B. Norkeh, Minister of Post and Telecommunications; Chief Executive Officer of Orange Liberia, Mamadou Coulibaly; as well as members of the National Legislature and innovative entrepreneurs of Liberia among others.He called Liberian innovators, MSME stakeholders and policy-makers to embrace this year’s MSME conference to exchange ideas and share lessons learned, in order to derive innovative solutions and policy recommendations to ensure ICT’s full potential will be exploited.“Through ICT innovation, MSMEs can combine growth with social impact, uplifting not only the economy, but also solving the social challenges our fellow Liberians may still face. Because of this inclusive growth it generates, ICT innovations hold a great promise for the future of our country and of our people,” Minister Addy said.He observed that in order to fully seize this opportunity and continue to push the frontiers of technology, this year’s focus on “Promoting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Liberia” will highlight the vital role of innovation in our economy.Minister Addy said the MSME conference is also intended for key stakeholders from the public and private sectors to meet to discuss the challenges the country still faces to fully play a role in the digital revolution and what policy-makers, business community and civil society organizations can do to encourage and facilitate innovation in Liberia.“We all share a responsibility in exploiting these new opportunities and expanding our productive frontiers through innovation, in order to truly enable Liberia to take off. MSMEs need to adapt innovative solutions for their business development. Policy measures and public programs must encourage ICT usage and innovation by fostering a conducive business environment,” he added.He said “To create a middle-income Liberia, both grand and small innovations are necessary. This conference is not only the opportunity to proudly present cutting-edge innovations, but also to prove that innovation is accessible to all. Marginal adaptations of technology to everyday products can profoundly impact our routines.”Minister Addy said this year again, “Our Entrepreneur-Plus (“E+”) program, a two-year business incubation program awarding US$100,000 in seed funding to reward the most promising young entrepreneurs, will take place in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden and Mercy Corps. We are also hosting a business innovation pitch competition to award prizes worth US$20,000 to ICT innovators.”Minister Addy said Vice President, Amb. Joseph N. Boakai will reward the best innovators on Saturday, as everyone enjoys a day of shopping and music at the concert organised by Orange.He said “From international marketing strategies to streamlining daily processes, inventory tracking, e-payments and cashless transactions, ICT is already present in many aspects of our MSMEs lives. But seeing that the sector already represents 7% of Africa’s jobs, and that 12% of the world’s cross-border trade in goods happens through e-commerce, it becomes evident that while digital innovations have impacted everyday life in Liberia, much of the revolution’s potential remains untapped.”Christine Elder, United States Ambassador to Liberia, said while the conference focuses on ICT, entrepreneurship is only partly driven by technology, stating “Entrepreneurship involves having a vision and taking risks.”According to her, technology can help entrepreneurs to be more efficient and successful, whether working in a market stall, storefront or from the kitchen table, describing info technology and this year’s location as excellent choices for the conference.She said a modern ICT sector has the potential to contribute to Liberia’s progress from increased economic growth to improved agricultural productivity and enhanced access to education and health.“The United States applauds Liberia for committing to develop a robust ICT sector and for acknowledging the central role this can play in strengthening the country’s economy and development, adding “The United States remains committed to help Liberia achieve this goal.”In addition, Madam Elder said the United States provides support for e-government and digital financial systems that can bring financial service to Liberians currently not being served by the formal banking sector. “We are also providing technical assistance on policies to help Liberia develop the regulatory and policy environment to grow its ICT sector.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said she was impressed with the level of contribution made to the sector MSME by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), and its partners which has impacted the sector largely.“The present of entrepreneurs here today and our partners demonstrate the gains being made and will continue to contribute to the development of the sector. I am proud to see our market women speaking and demanding of what they want,” she said.Keynote speakers Mlen-Too Wesley and Charles D. Cooper, founders of Cookshop.biz, called on Liberian innovators to partner in order to make progress within the sector.“Liberia needs more ICT innovators and working together as innovators will greatly help in achieving such a milestone. Liberia can make serious progress within this sector when everyone comes together and continue to build collaboration,” they noted. They said Liberia will achieve more within the ICT sector if innovators can see partnership as key to the general development of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

JASON BLACK’S K2 BLOG: WHY THE NO 32 BUS EIREANN ROUTE IS EASY PICKINGS

first_imgEntering the Lions Lair – Jason’s live audio blog is not possible at present because of signal difficulties. However here is Jason’s latest blog penned yesterday.Jason BlackDay 5 & 6 K2 Expedition 2015.by Jason Black News filtered through late Friday night that the long awaited journey to Skardu village at the base of the Bolero glacier, the starting point of the long trek to K2 Basecamp was not now possible. In a most heavy debate & heated raised voices between the logistics crews & the Sherpa team that it had now become very obvious that the dreaded drive through the most dangerous valley in the world was just about to unfold. Named the Karakoram highway nick-named the KKH and home to the Taliban. In 2013 eleven international climbers on route to the mountains on the KKH were highjacked tortured and shot dead.The Taliban have one mandate as extreme Islamics to keep their territorial areas free from western world influences and to murder outsiders.With heavy hearts we loaded up the bus and set sail, shortly outside of Islamabad, a Pakistan liaison officer “who had to negotiate the checkpoints on our behalf” calmly stated that’s where Sadam Husain was captured & killed. We were in a village called Abbottsbad on route to our stop over in Besham village which we arrived at after 10hours in the sweltering heat. After a beautiful bit of Pakistani food made up of local rice chicken with a spiced sauce and finished with what looked like custard which was just perfect. The bus outside now was under armed guard being protected for the night. With less than four hours sleep and two fried eggs with nan bread, washed down with a local chi milky tea for breakfast we departed at 4.30am.A decision was taken to get a jump on the rebels, as we pulled out of the overnight basic but nice & very friendly accommodation, an armed police officer brandishing a shot gun & cool as a cucumber sat down beside me and we’re off. Yes I thought, Jesus you wouldn’t see it in a film. Check points came fast & thick and more welcomed armed police arrived until we were escorted front and back with heavily armed officers.By now the silence on the bus was very noticeable as we were in the Taliban’s back door, up through the valley we followed the winding dirt road passing through sparatic mountain villages where we could see that we just didn’t fit in- obvious in the stares, that said an odd wave let us know that not everyone was hostile to our passing. It was the longest bus ride of my life as we felt we literally had our life in their hands.The valley of region was so barren with the Indus River as our guide and the surrounding huge mountain range of the Himalayan Range on the right & the Karakoram Range on my left I could see how dealing with these extremists in their own environment must be practically impossible.After 14 hours , yes 14 hours we got through the worst bit and turned off the KKH on the final leg of the journey toward our final destination, Skardu ,which was a further 5 hours away on mountain torn dirt roads.With short stops for relief , a stretch and snacks we rolled into Skardu village at 1.30am, 21 hours later ecstatic with relief that we made it through hassle free but exhausted like doing 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.Departing the bus I couldn’t but think of the two days and how in God’s name I could put into words & explain what had just unfolded.I laughed as I said ,”it was like something from the movies”. Today was a really serious day which lived up to its reputation, that aside there was a bright side as I got an opportunity to see & experience the coal face first hand and witness how resilient once again the human race can be , as these people cut off from the outside world can live and survive under a curtain of hardship.Like all torn nations dealing with conflict there is always a small minority creating mayhem. I have to stress that the vast majority of Pakistani were warm , caring and very welcoming people in a vacuum of media negativity from the troubles that’s not accurate in the whole.The freedom of speech, movement and fair trade we enjoy at home, sometimes a democracy we take for granted as a modern nation.I’ll never complain about that No. 32 Bus Eireann bus again.Pakistan oh Pakistan “what can tomorrow have in store”. The K2 expedition continues….JasonJASON BLACK’S K2 BLOG: WHY THE NO 32 BUS EIREANN ROUTE IS EASY PICKINGS was last modified: June 29th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BlogJason BlackK2last_img read more