Contribution of Informal Businesses to Private Sector Development: A CaseStudy of the Central Region of Liberia

"The objective of the study is to assess the overall performance of IBs in order to determine their contribution to private sector-based economic interventions that are aimed at national socio-economic development in Liberia, using the CRL as a case study. The specific objectives are: a) to determine the contribution of IBs to the basic social and economic needs of the population; and b) to increase financial or micro-finance loans support to IBs through sensitization of Government of Liberia (GOL) and development partners. The research was mainly based on primary data, using structured and semi-structured questionnaires to interview IBs and other target population in the CRL. The two counties and the 19 urban and large-rural localities were purposively selected. Other methods of interviews included focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interview (KII). A Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to process the research data collected from structured questionnaire, while information from KIIs and FGDs were processed manually.The study shows that IBs owners have high loan repayment rates. The research also indicates that most IBs owners (75%) saved money from their businesses while the mean amount of money saved per month was US34.84. It was revealed that most IBs owners saved money in susu clubs2 (which is not quite sustainable) due to limited knowledge and access to banking facilities in the CRL. The research found that grassroots business owners provided more adequate health, education, food and housing for their households than heads of households engaged in other subsistence activities such as farming. The research found that grassroots businesses ensured access to goods and services in remote towns and villages."