Liberia Makes Investment Milestones at 1st World SME Blockchain Technology Forum

2nd from left Augustine Arkoi, BFF; Director Al Lewis of CBL; Minister Emmanuel Johson; Senator Sando Johnson; Madam Choi, JeongIm, CEO SOZO International; Cllr. Mark Marvey of Heritage Partners; Senior Associate of SOOM Group; Minister Eddie Trawallay&; Director Quinton Tunis of NIC and other CEOs photo pose at the Beijing Conference

Liberia has made significant investment milestones at the recently held “First World SME Blockchain Technology Forum, organized by the China Association of Small and Medium Commercial Enterprises; co-sponsored by China’s Public Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange Center.

The forum which is dedicated to driving economic growth, promote market prosperity, and expand social employment in all countries of the World was held from June 22-24, 2018, at the Yanxi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Center in Beijing, China.

The international investment forum, attended by more than 1,500 delegates, representing Heads of State and government, as well as leading academics, financiers, economists, entrepreneurs and blockchain experts from China, United States, Finland, Russia, South Korea, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Singapore among others, exclusively featured Liberia; where Senator Sand Johnson officially addressed the forum, followed by a technical presentation with respect to the abundant investment and business opportunities in Liberia by Mr. Quinton A. Tunis, Director for Investment Promotion of the Liberia National Investment Commission (NIC).

Meanwhile, at the end of the summit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was made and entered into by and between the Office of Senator SandoDazoe Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Investment and Concessions, representing the Government of Liberia and SOZO International LTD, a leading business firm in Tokyo, JAPAN, with specialty in international consultancy, investment, trade, road & real estate, tourism, cultural exchange, entertainment, and general construction.

The Liberian delegation also inked another Memorandum of Understanding with SOOM GROUP, a leading business conglomerate, comprising two hundred and fifty (250) companies dealing in infrastructures, technology, and agriculture, amongst others with branches in the United States of America, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and China.

The participation of Liberia in this year’s World Convention on Small and Medium Enterprises and the World Blockchain Technology Forum was based on a formal invitation extended to Liberia by SOZO International, an Investment & Trade Consultancy firm based in Tokyo, Japan; with affiliate offices in Seoul, Korea, and the United States, and Soom Group of Companies, which are collaborating partners of the Better Future Foundation (BFF).

BFF is a development advocacy organization which is dedicated to promoting socio-economic, educational and international cultural understanding and cooperation.

In a formal communication, inviting Liberia to the just-ended global event, SOZO International stressed the significance of Liberia’s participation aimed at highlighting its economic resuscitation efforts as well as the country’s vast investment and business potentials.

SOZO International further disclosed that Liberia’s participation in said conference was to also enable it, as a post-conflict and post-Ebola nation, to explore and cultivate partnerships and cooperation for sustainable development through foreign investments & trade.

According to a press release issued in Monrovia over the weekend, the International Representative of SOZO International Trade and Investment Consultancy Firm and Soom Group of Companies, Mr. Augustine Arkoi, who accompanied the high-powered Liberian delegation to the international investment conference said, his organization facilitated the travel of the Liberian delegation.

Mr. Arkoi used the occasion to applaud the Liberian government for its participation in the conference and expressed the hope that such participation would be of immense benefit to the government and people of Liberia.

The seven-member high-powered Liberian government delegation, headed by Bomi County Senator, SandoDazoe Johnson, returned home from the SME global forum, where it successfully participated in the 2018 World Convention of Small and Medium Enterprises and the World Blockchain Technical Forum.

Speaking at the global forum, held on the theme: “Promoting the Network of SMEs, Achieving a win-win Situation, ” the Head of the Liberian delegation, Senator SandoDazoe Johnson asserted that the summit comes at a time when Liberia’s banking and financial sectors are undergoing substantial transformation as a result of the country’s adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), an essential strategic resource without which financial institutions will neither be competitive, nor responsive to the emerging needs of consumers and businesses.

The Liberian Senator asserted that the conference also comes on the heels of rising consumers’ demand for convenience, flexibility, speed and remote interaction with financial service providers.

He stressed that the Government of Liberia (GoL), recognizing that digital technology has become the preferred tool for fostering financial inclusion, access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises and to promote its Pro-Poor development Agenda based on Transparency and Accountability is interested in exploring all possibilities including the use of Blockchain technology and digital currencies.

Senator Johnson further indicated that this would enable the Government of Liberia to finance investments and business ventures for small and medium enterprises, as well as, infrastructures and other development programs in the country.

He asserted that although the GoL is fully aware of the Technical, Educational, Legal and Regulatory barriers to the adoption of Blockchain Technology in the country, there are some foundations including the installation of fiber optic ace technology in Liberia that  embrace this opportunity.

Moreover, the Head of the Liberian delegation emphasized that with the prevailing political will, the Government of Liberia, headed by President George MannehWeah, will spare no effort to inspire the necessary changes and open up the country to business opportunities which harness the creation of jobs for Liberians and provide SMEs the much-needed access to finances.

Other members of the Liberian delegation included Mr. Emmanuel Mulbah Johnson, Assistant Minister of Youth & Sports; Mr. Eddie Trawally, Assistant Minister of Justice, Bureau of Corrections; Mr. Diakae AL Lewis, Sr. Assistant Director, IT Regulation & Supervision, Central Bank of Liberia; and Cllr. Mark M. M. Marvey, World Bank Consultant & Legal practitioner on international investment & Concessions.

Some of the international business tycoons and personalities who participated in this year conference in Beijing and subsequently met with the Liberian delegation are Jiang Ming, Chairman, China General Chamber of Commerce; Rex Wong, Founder and Chairman, Hong Kong Blockchain Industry; KiEob Park, Founder/President & CEO, Soompay; Nic Roberson, Diplomatic Editor, CNN International;  Tian Long Tai, President, Beijing Jiaowen Hotel;  and host Madam Choi, Jong IM, CEO Sozo International and Chairman of Foreign Economic Cooperation Project, among others.

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