“We’ll Keep Liberia’s Economy Moving in this Ebola Dilemma”

first_imgAs the Ebola virus continues to spread through West Africa and the diaspora, the chief of party of USAID Liberia’s investing for Business Expansion Program (IBEX), Mrs. Watchen Harris Bruce, says her organization will continue to keep the economy moving by facilitating essential loans for local businesses in the country.Mrs. Bruce, who disclosed this initiative to the Daily Observer Tuesday, said that  in total, IBEX helped four local businesses to access loans totalingUS$860,000 during the month of July and September 2014.She continued: “Now more than ever,Liberian businesses need access to finance to allow them to operate, to pay suppliers, and to help their businesses through these difficult times.”The IBEX chief of party said that one of the most important ways they assist local business is by advising clients on improving their loan applications.Recently, “We helped clients in the construction, agricultural, general merchandize and trade sectors to keep their businesses operational despite the challenges brought on by Ebola.  A number of international organizations are also seeking IBEX’s assistance in identifying local businesses that can supply sanitary materials and local construction companies that can build Ebola treatment centers.”According to her, Efforts to control the Ebola virus,  including severely restricting the movement of people, goods and money,  have had unintended consequences for countries like Liberia. “Keeping the economy functioning and the credit flowing at these challenging times is more important than ever,” she noted.Mrs. Bruce continued, “Local businesses are being forced to change their economic activities and adopt new marketing strategies because of the catastrophic impact of the Ebola crisis. IBEX also provides clients and partner banks with loan advisory and loan facilitation services through one-on-one meetings, mentoring, coaching, counseling and advising by email or on mobile phone.” Further loan packages for three additional local businesses, valued at US$205,000, are in active process, and three projects valued at over US$1 million have been submitted to partner banks, Mrs. Bruce declared.Moreover, she said IBEX has been engaged with stakeholders on paying health workers and teachers in the rural areas through Lone Star MTN mobile money service.In another development, IBEX and local business support service providers met on September 18, 2014 to brainstorm on forming a consortium on how to improve local Liberian  business initiatives.The training meeting took place at the program’s Murex Plaza office in Sinkor.  Participating were nine representatives from a cross-section of service providers, ranging from government institutions involved with business services to private sector firms. Presiding, IBEX Deputy Chief of Party Augustus J. Flomo said, “This event was to continue the discussion IBEX started in 2013 to establish a National Business Development and Advisory Center that will provide technical assistance and support services to local businesses through aconsortium.”Meanwhile, the Liberia Investing for Business Expansion Program (IBEX) is funded by USAID and implemented by IESC under the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA). Since 2012, IBEX has been working to improve Liberia’s lending environment for seven productive sectors (agriculture, clean energy, construction, transportation/logistics, general merchandize trade, infrastructure and hospitality) through improved risk management and outreach, designed to reduce the risks and costs associated with lending in these sectors.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Sound of Music: Asiad theme song hit with athletes

first_imgBy Bharat Sharma Palembang, Aug 22 (PTI) Indonesia is receiving constant criticism for its traffic woes in Jakarta and Palembang in the ongoing Asian Games but it has also done a lot of things right, including the immensely popular theme song which is also available in Hindi. The song, which has been released in six different languages Bahasa, Hindi, Arabic, Korean, Japanese and Thai is a huge hit among the athletes. The original version called ‘Meraih Bintang (reach for the stars), sung by Indonesia’s rising dangdung music star Vi Vallen, has expectedly garnered the most hits on Youtube — 31 million — since it was released 50 days ago ahead of the August 18-September 2 Asian Games. Dangdung is a form of Indonesian pop inspired from Hindustani, Malay and Arabic. The Hindi version, sung by Siddharth Slathia, had close to two million hits at the time of writing. The organisers have actually launched a full-fledged Games album, featuring 13 songs. On the streets of Jakrata and Palembang, at Games Village and the sporting venues, ‘Meraih Bintang’ is being played on the loop. “It is really catchy even though I don’t understand the language (Bahasa). It keeps me going during competition,” 15-year-old Thai shooter Natsara Champalat told PTI. When told there was also a Thai version of the song, Champalat was quick to point that “it is mostly in English with very little Thai in it”. The song has been created to celebrate the unifying spirit of the Games and motivate the 11,000 plus athletes from 45 countries competing at the quadrennial event. It also promotes dangdung.advertisement Another song has that has been pepping up the athletes is called ‘Non Political’. “Love is our language, peace is our weapon. W don’t need no politician, we all just want to dance,” these are the opening two lines of the high-energy song featuring Slank, the biggest Indonesian rock band. “I have been to other Games but the theme songs there did not create a buzz. What they have done is great. The songs have a very global appeal to it,” said Bahraini athlete Ali Hussain. Waka Waka, the anthem of 2010 World Cup in South Africa, is easily the most popular song to have come out of major sporting events in recent times. India too had a song for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi but it did not catch the attention of the athletes and general public despite being an A R Rahman composition. India’s young trap shooter, Lakshay Sheoran, relies heavily on music to relax himself. Lakshay shot his way to a silver medal on Monday as the theme song played in the background. He was even seen grooving to it. “Mein music mein kho jaata hoon (I get lost in the music to focus). It was the case today also,” Lakshay had told PTI after his memorable feat. PTI BS PM PM PMlast_img read more