Liberian Businesses: the Engines of Economic Recovery and Growth (2015)

In the fourth edition of the Market Overview Report, USAID SMI-L offers a snapshot of the Liberian econocmy in the year following the height of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) were negatively impacted by the EVD crisis as prices soared, access to finance diminished, client numbers shrank and movement was restricted. Yet, surveys and interviews administered by Building Markets during the peak of the outbreak showed something unexpected: widespread optimism about future profits and business prospects.

 

However, MSMEs continue to face the same constraints as before the EVD outbreak: limited access to finance, insufficient capacity, poor infrastructure and low business skills. MSMEs have been bolstered in the past, but in post-EVD Liberia, they are increasingly recognized by the government, development partners and the private sector as the engines of inclusive, sustainable recovery and growth. Understanding the dynamics and trends of MSMEs in 2015, as this report aims to do, will ensure that policies and programs in 2016 effectively and holistically target Liberian businesses to drive recovery and development.

 

Gathering Competitive Momentum: Overview of the Liberian Economy (2014)

This is USAID SMI-L's third annual Market Overview Report. It provides an overview of the Liberian economy focusing on economic trends and local business developments in the review period from May 2013 to November 2014. The report highlights demographic information on local businesses, practices and perceptions of buyers and explores opportunities and challenges related to local procurement. This report is meant to be a resource for existing concessionaires, potential investors, donors, local businesses and Liberian policymakers.

 

Although the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) poses the most formidable threat to Liberia’s economic growth momentum, the local marketplace is growing in capability and diversity and, with adequate support, can bounce back quickly once EVD is contained. The range of goods and services supplied locally is growing and the quality is improving. Supply chain collaboration between local and international firms is increasing as international firms operating in the country heed the government’s call to build local business linkages to stimulate broad-based growth. Surveys conducted by SMI-L show that local procurement drives local employment creation, boosts local reinvestment and catalyzes economy-wide growth through spending multiplier effects.

 

Leaving a Trace: A Report on the Economic Impacts of Mining in Liberia

This report is the nation's first in-depth look at the mining sector. The report looks at the current and future sourcing and hiring needs of mining companies and how local businesses and citizens can fulfill those needs. This report analyzes gaps between supply and demand, identifies barriers to local procurement and hiring, and provides local suppliers, international mining firms and government agencies with the knowledge to unlock the sector's long-term, socio-economic potential.

 

Winning Case Study: World Bank's Procurement for Complex Situations Challenge: Finding Needles in a Haystack: Breaking Down Information Barriers Between Buyers & Suppliers in Developing Economies

This Case Study is one of five award winners of World' Bank's Procurement for Complex Situations Challenge. It will be published in a World Bank publication in 2014. Abstract: In post-conflict and developing economies where there is often a dearth of market information, buyers and suppliers are prevented from doing business with each other. Through simple technology that can be easily replicated throughout the world, Building Markets’ (BM) bridges information gaps by maintaining a supplier directory and Tender Distribution Service (TDS). The result in Liberia since April 2012 is increased local procurement at more than $13.5 million.  

 

Upwardly Mobile: second annual overview of the Liberian marketplace (2013)

This is USAID SMI-L’s second annual Market Overview Report. This report analyzes the Liberian economy in order to inform about the landscape of local businesses; practices and attitudes of donors, aid agencies and large businesses related to local procurement; continued challenges and opportunities and how increased local procurement enhances the local economy. Accordingly, this report is meant to be a resource to potential investors, multinational organizations, donors, and local businesses.

 

Over the last year, Liberia made significant gains at the macro-level due in large part to government-initiated policy changes to improve the ease of doing business and trade for international and local companies. At the micro-level, local businesses are increasingly able to access capital and use technology, through further improvement in both areas is needed.

 

Increased local procurement is one driver of the rapid changes taking place in Liberia, and it facilitates job creation and local business expansion. As local businesses are better integrated into concession and other large-scale supply chains, additional employment opportunities emerge, new skills are developed and a sustainable local economy is being created.

 

Seizing Potential: an overview of the Liberian marketplace (2012)

This is the first research report produced by Building Markets in Liberia. It contains the most up-to-date and comprehensive data available on the local business community. The Building Markets team surveyed 758 local firms from across the Monrovia region, and nine major international buyers. The main purpose of the report is to examine the landscape of the Liberian market as well as the nature and scope of the obstacles to local procurement. The survey found that local businesses demonstrate great potential to meet the needs of international buyers in Liberia, despite being relatively small. Fifty-eight per cent of firms in the sample employ fewer than five people, and yet many suppliers deliver goods and services in high demand from international buyers. In Liberia, where foreign direct investment has increased considerably in recent years, the survey also found strong potential for local purchasing to make a considerable impact. On average, 71 cents of every dollar spent on local procurement will be re-spent within the local economy through wages paid to staff or goods and services sourced from other local businesses - also known as the multiplier effect.

In addition to making the findings available through this report, the data will be used to support the suite of services offered by Building Markets’ Sustainable Marketplace Initiative to promote local procurement in Liberia and support sustainable SME growth and job creation.