Dutch business delegation to visit Ebola-hit countries

Minister Ploumen will lead the delegation

Minister Ploumen will lead the delegation

A Dutch business delegation is expected to visit Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea from July 6-9 with possible trade and investment opportunities.

The Dutch business delegation will be led by Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Ms. Ploumen will travel to Monrovia on July 6, and hold discussions with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, meet with relevant agencies and senior government ministers.

The delegation will also hold discussions with Liberian business executives, farmers, multinational companies, NGOs  and later during the day travel to the Freeport of Monrovia and before discussing with Dutch companies doing business in Liberia.

The visit was made possible when President Sirleaf held discussions with the Ms. Ploumen on the sidelines of the EU High Level Ebola Conference held in Brussels, Belgium in March this year.

The aim of the mission is to strengthen bilateral relations with the three West African countries worst hit by Ebola, to exchange knowledge and promote trade.

“Many Dutch businesses are unaware that there are good opportunities for the production sector in West Africa,” which is not all that far from the Netherlands, Ms. Ploumen told a recent meeting in the Hague.

”West Africa provides many investment opportunities in areas like rice, coffee, cocoa, water and energy. ‘Our businesses can also set an example in corporate social responsibility. Dutch companies are already active in the region, employ thousands of people who work in good conditions and earn a living wage. This makes us a popular partner,’ the minister remarked.

The mission will begin in Liberia where the Minister will first meet Dutch Companies operating in Liberia before meeting female entrepreneurs and business woman as well as  promoting the concept of the good governance and growth programs.

The delegation leaves Monrovia for Freetown, Sierra Leone on Monday evening to hold discussions with Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma and later during the day meet with Dutch business people operating in Freetown and members of the Sierra Business Community before visiting Freetown’s port.

Ms Ploumen will later travel to Conakry, Guinea to continue similar discussions and consultations with the President of Guinea Alpha Conde, where a Seminar on Doing Business in Guinea will be held, thereafter, discussions will take place between the delegation and Guinean authorities and a visit to the Port of Conakry.

Ambassador Nyenabo is optimistic

Ambassador Nyenabo is optimistic

Meanwhile, Liberia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Isaac W. Nyenabo believes the mission will have positive effects on the business climate of Liberia, thus promoting Liberia’ s local produce and opening up the Liberian market for not only Dutch investors but also promote trade and investment possibilities from other European companies. ‘The Netherlands and West Africa have many shared interests, This trade mission will help us broaden our relationship, and that will make it easier for us to discuss more relevant trade matters as well’ the Ambassador noted.

At the recent program of the receiving of the Letters of Credence of Liberia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Isaac Nyenabo, the King of the Netherlands His Majesty Williem-Alexander   revealed that a Trade Mission of Dutch investors and trade partners were planning to visit the region by July 6 to explore possibilities of doing business in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

King Williem-Alexander said the mission’s objective was to contribute to the economies of the worst hit Ebola affected countries and provide jobs for the people.

The historical relations subsisting between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Liberia date as far back as the 17th Century when the Dutch ship “White Dog” reached the Liberian coast in 1614 and started informal trade with the inhabitants on the West Coast of Africa.

Isaac C. Yeah