Vice President Boakai Opens Exhibition of Liberian Products

Saturday, 28th April 2007
Monrovia, Liberia -  The Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai has challenged Liberian professionals and artisans to strive to attain standards reached by their colleagues in other parts of Africa and the world.
He hoped Liberians would start thinking about exporting their products to the United States, now that Liberia and the U.S. have signed a trade agreement, which facilitates this.
He observed that Liberians are talented and skillful people and that all they need is the commitment to excel in whatever they do.
Vice President Boakai made the remarks Friday when he opened an exhibition of products made by Liberian artisans at the Fair Ground in Buchanan.
The event held under the theme: “Rehabilitation Artisan Program (RAP) Fair, exhibited the products of 43 trade shops and 129 apprentices and shop owners from Buchanan, Greenville, Cestos and Zwedru Cities, which included shirts and dresses, silver and gold chains, carvings and agricultural tools.
Vice President Boakai hoped the exhibition would become an annual affair, and that a display of agricultural products would also be contemplated.
He said citizens should justify what government does for them including the building of roads, hospitals and schools, by remaining peaceful and united.
He said such exhibitions would not only help to improve the economy, but also bring Liberians closer together and pledged government’s cooperation in future exhibitions.
Also Speaking at the fair, the Chief of Party of the Liberia Opportunities Infrastructure Program
(LCIP) who also represented USAID Wilbur Thomas at the program, hoped Liberia would serve as a model for other African countries.
Mr. Joseph Kettor, the Executive Director of Odafara  one of the implementing partners, said the Rehabilitation Artisan Program (RAP) which is currently training some 788 Liberians in various skills, is intended to stimulate economic activities in rural Liberia by giving young people livelihood skills.
Grand Bassa County Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell described the fair as “impressive”,  while a representative of Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe, said the program will empower the youth to earn a livelihood.
The UNMIL Civil Affairs Representative described the event as the “dawning of business in Liberia”, and hoped the event would be hosted annually.
Representatives of the apprentices who spoke at the program, both hoped the RAP apprenticeship training program would be extended to other counties . The project is being funded by USAID/DFID and implemented by LCIP, DAI and ODAFARA.