President of Liberia Visits Concordia University
On May 18, 2007 the President of the Republic of Liberia, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf visited the State of Oregon
to address the World Affairs Council. During her visit, the Faculty and Staff of Concordia University in Portland conferred
on her a doctorial degree in political science. Mr. Sherlock Mahn, the CEO/President of Kwaplah International, Inc. was
invited to give a remark regarding the President's request for Liberian entrepreneurs to bring investment and participate
in the reconstruction of their native country.
Picture 1: Mr. Sherlock Mahn (right) presents a plaque and financial contribution to her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Republic of Liberia (left)
Picture 2: Her Excellency, President Johnson-Sirleaf (right) discusses with Mr. Mahn (left) the present investment opportunities and overall business climate in Liberia.
Sherlock B. Mahn
Chief Executive Officer & President
Kwaplah International, Inc.
Concordia University, Portland, Oregon, USA
Her Excellency, the President of the Republic of Liberia, Chairman, the World Affairs Council of Oregon, my fellow Liberians, ladies and gentlemen.
Approximately a month ago, I received an invitation from Senator Hillary Clinton to attend a fundraising dinner in Washington D.C. for the Liberian Education Trust Fund for the Liberian president. A week later, I learned that our president was coming to Oregon. I decided that if my president is coming to my home state, I would rather meet her at home. Madame President, on behalf of the board of directors, myself, and the staff of Kwaplah International, we want to welcome you again to the great state of Oregon — our coporate headquarters.
As a young graduate student at Oregon State University in 1993, I established Kwaplah Interntional, Inc (a 100 percent Liberian owned firm) with an objective to provide:
Cost effective international procurement services to development projects throughout Africa that are funded by the World Bank, African Development Bank, United Nations Development Program, etc.
Kwaplah is growing rapidly here and abroad particularly, in other African countries.
This year, we received the U.S. Department of Commerce
Madame President, you made a call for Liberian entrepreneurs to return home and assist in the reconstruction process of our country. Kwaplah has acceded to this call.
We have purchased and renovated a three story building on Warren Street where our international procurement office is presently located.
We have successfully negotiated and were granted authorized dealership for Hewlett-Packard information technology products for Liberia. We are constructing an HP showroom at this same facility.
One sector of the Liberian economy where Liberians are not prevalent is the automobile sector. In this regard, Kwaplah has purchased two acres of land on the Tubman Blvd / Police Academy Road in Paynesville where we are constructing a commercial complex to host the first Liberian owned new car dealership with full service garage and auto parts store among others.
However, we have one major concern in this endeavor, Madame President. The two auto dealerships in Liberia have sole agency for the top 12 brands of vehicles in the country. This means that those of us that are now entering the new car market cannot do so with any standard brand of cars. We believe that this is a policy issue and must be addressed as such under the liberianization policy. We are kindly requesting that the government allows multiple agencies of these standard brands of cars to allow fair competition where the consummers will benefit instead of the current duopoly that exists.
Finally, we have received requests from our clients such as UNDP-Liberia, World Bank Project Office, European Union Office, etc. that we establish an organized car rental program in order to provide rental transportation services for development projects that may be coming to the country.
In response to this request, we have established "Kwaplah International Transport" car rental services. We presently have over 35 AWD vehicles in the country. We will officially launch this program next week in Monrovia.
Corollary to this, we have had discussion with Mr. Julius Dennis to partner with Robert International Airport to provide ground transportation service from RIA to major hotels in Monrovia.
Madame President, the Kwaplah family is of the conviction that with your strong leadership and commitment, Liberia is now germinating from the ashes of civil war toward a sustained peace and we stand by you and your administration. We are delighted to present this leadership plaque to you:
Presentation of plaque that reads:
In recognition and appreciation to her Excellency President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, president of the
Republic of Liberia for her outstanding leadership and commitment in bringing accelerated
socio-economic and political transformation to the people of Liberia.
May, 2007 - CEO & Staff of Kwaplah International, Inc.
Personally, I believe in your effort to educate the children of Liberia. I grew up in abject poverty, but today, I am here because I was given an access to education. We want to make a small financial contribution to the Liberian Education Trust Fund in an amount of $3,000.00. Kwaplah Liberia will support your education trust fund as we grow and gain traction in Liberia. Thank you for coming to see us!
Kwaplah-Liberia motto: Joining our people to rebuild our nation!
May 18, 2007