By Julius T. Jaesen II
Managing Publisher/Democracy Watch
Extreme poverty and mounting unemployment have devastated every family in Liberia for decades. To eradicate extreme poverty in Liberia as the government’s pro-poor strategy foresees, we must bring in substantial amounts of foreign direct investment. The attraction of large inflows of foreign direct investments will not only help in capital accumulation, but also it will create jobs, improve technology transfer, and boost competitiveness in a debt- and poverty-ridden nation like Liberia.
We have a lot of resources, yet our people are still suffering. The poor quality of choices and management of our natural resources, which God has gifted us with, contributes to the miserable or undignified existence our people are experiencing. Creating private-sector employment and encouraging businesses to contribute directly to the provision of some social assistance for the poor, as ArcelorMittal is doing, are two ways in which we can help lift our people out of poverty and into a better life.
ArcelorMittal-Liberia is one of the investors or FDIs making significant progress in restoring the quality of life for our country’s citizens. Over the last 15 years, AML has financed several projects across numerous fields, from healthcare to education to infrastructure to agriculture (by bolstering the capabilities of local farmers) to the success of small and medium-sized businesses. This is why I am in favor of AML’s long-term growth into phase two, and of their continued presence in our nation. I’m encouraged by AML’s plan to expand into a second phase since I believe this means additional jobs will soon be available to our young people.
To provide a good standard of living for our people, we will need to attract more foreign direct investments (FDI), much like AML. The United Nations has established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that all developing countries should strive to achieve by the year 2030. Income inequality, poverty reduction, and overall human progress may all benefit from these targets being met. Progress towards these targets, however, has been inconsistent, with some nations fulfilling all of them and others failing to complete any of them. Most African nations like Liberia are also falling short of these benchmarks and will need substantial assistance from outside to catch up. It would be preposterous to understate the value of FDI in helping to accomplish these SDGs. This is due to its potential for attracting foreign direct investment, which may increase tax income for governments and spur innovation and entrepreneurship. As a consequence of FDI’s prominence as a significant source of foreign funding, many developing nations, notably in Africa, have shifted to implementing FDI promotion policies.
The World Bank predicts that by 2030, Africa will be home to the majority of the world’s poorest, making severe poverty a major issue throughout the continent. Foreign direct investment and foreign aid to deliver economic prosperity are necessary for Liberia and other developing countries in Africa to reduce this problem and make Africa a place beaming with hope and opportunity for its citizens, particularly its young people who make up the majority of the continent’s population.
ArcelorMittal-Liberia, the largest post-war FDI in Liberia, is willing to invest massively in our nation as a development partner to assist solve some of the difficulties we confront. AML is adding a little over a billion to its investment portfolio as part of its phase two growth strategy. So, a lot of high-quality foreign resources are needed in Liberia so that the nation may close its savings deficit and achieve fair and sustainable growth. Thus, policymakers and development practitioners consider FDIs like ArcelorMittal as a key factor in economic growth.