Liberian Government partners with ITC to foster business support for WTO accession
The International Trade Centre (ITC) is bringing together members of the Liberian public and private sectors to discuss liberalization of the country’s financial services – a step towards the country’s efforts to becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
ITC organized a workshop on financial-sector reform on 27–28 March in Monrovia in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The main themes of the event were the business implication of WTO accession on the sector and other developing countries’ experiences of financial-services liberalization.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Axel Addy opened the workshop, emphasizing the key role that the financial-services sector plays in Liberia’s integration in global markets. Presentations were made by high-level stakeholders, including Boima Kamara, Deputy Governor for Economic Policy of the Central Bank of Liberia, and John Davies, President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment.
Dale Honeck of the WTO Trade in Services Division, Chibuike Uche of the African Studies Centre of Leiden University, and Settor Amediku of the Central Bank of Ghana also made presentations, fostering discussion among stakeholders.
Dr. Amediku shared his country’s experience of liberalizing its financial sector. Ghana’s financial-sector reforms are similar to those being implemented in other African countries, but has been underway for a longer period of time and arguably has been implemented with greater consistency than in some other countries.
Workshop participants also discussed the role of foreign banks in an economy, as well as related benefits and challenges among Liberian stakeholders. While Liberia has taken steps to liberalize this service sector, stakeholders emphasized the need to ensure that policies related to financial-sector reform and WTO accession must guarantee that services are provided throughout the country.
Private-sector participants confirmed that Liberia can learn from international best practices of countries in similar positions in terms of policy reform and the WTO accession process.