During the most recent Ebola crisis, the USAID-funded Liberia Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX) Program supported local businesses by employing Ebola-prevention investment strategies and helping these businesses explore new market opportunities. The Monrovia International Company (MIC), which specializes in procurement and construction, utilized these solutions to make investments that benefit not only the company, but also the health of the Liberian community.
The MIC’s, Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Verona Wilson, was in need of a loan so that her company could import 420 drums (nearly 87,500 liters) of sodium hypochlorite, a disinfectant desperately needed in Liberia to combat the spread of Ebola. MIC wanted to procure and sell the disinfectant at an affordable cost to Liberians. However, Ms. Wilson was initially denied a $58,000 loan after applying with International Bank Liberia Limited. The staff at International Bank informed Ms. Wilson of the IBEX Program and she worked with IBEX staff to improve MIC’s business plan and financial statements. As a result, she was able to meet the bank lending requirements and she was approved.
“I had a good experience with IBEX,” said Ms. Wilson. According to her, the loan process with IBEX was smooth and it only took two weeks to receive her loan. “IBEX has been a saving grace. I will help to spread the message about IBEX.” After Ms. Wilson’s containers arrived in Liberia, the disinfectant was used by health workers at Ebola treatment centers and facilities, and for water purification around the country.
IBEX has been working with the Government of Liberia, international donors, and multinational organizations such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations, to identify small businesses that can stock and sell essential cleaning supplies and protective equipment that have become increasingly scarce and costly on the local market. IBEX will continue to seek out small and medium enterprises, like MIC, who are making investments in eradicating Ebola from Liberia.