The Gambia has a host of enterprising youth entrepreneurs in diverse sectors of the economy all around the country, yet these enterprises are faced with a lot of challenges in terms of understanding and adhering to current trade policies, which have led to high informal business, illegal operations or some extend lead to closure of businesses in the Gambia. However, The Gambia Government through the Ministry of Trade, regional integration and employment, has develop series of policies including the recently developed National Entrepreneurship policy but implementation of the policy still remains a huge challenge.
In line with our strategic plan 2020-2025 (To advocate for the creation of the enabling environment for young entrepreneurs in the Gambia), GYCC organize a two (2) Days high level Interface between Gambia Government, youth entrepreneurs and stakeholders including House of Parliament or National Assembly and trade support organization in the Entrepreneurship Eco-System to dialogue on issues and policies surrounding entrepreneurship in The Gambia.
The Vice president of Republic of Gambia H.E Dr. Isatou Touray presided over the official opening session and below is her full statement
Chairperson of the occasion, President of GYCC Board, Representative of Konrad Adenauer foundation, National Assembly members here presents, Hon. Minister of Trade, Hon. Minister of youth and Sports Government Officials here presents, Young Entrepreneurs cross the country Development partners, staff and management of GYCC, the media here present, all other protocols duly and respectfully observed……..
The Micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) are the engines of economic growth in most developing economies, The Gambia is not an exception. This is because they provide livelihoods for owners, entrepreneurs and investors who depend on such business to meet their family needs and basic survival necessities.
MSMEs also contributes to economic growth through the provision of goods and services to serve the requirements of citizenry thereby increasing economic productivity and reducing the scourge of poverty, unemployment and crisis.
Given the vital role of MSMEs plays in developing countries in general and the Gambia in particular, it is important for the young people in business and private sector in particular, the trade support organization join the Government through our relevant ministries to participate in formulation of coherent policies that will address and mitigate some of the issues, problems and challenges faced by MSMEs in the Gambia bearing in mind of 22 years of dictatorship, unemployment and scarce opportunities and resource for the young people.
Chairperson, Hon. Ministers, ladies and gentlemen, the young people Under the Leadership of H.E Adama Barrow has enjoyed series of projects and programs directed by policy for the provision employable skills training and access to finance or credit facilities. Further the government has recently considered the establishment of MSMEs Fund to enhance support MSMEs to grow an create employment and contribute to socioeconomic development of this country.
The Gambia is a small agrarian economy that relies primarily on tourism, rain-fed agriculture, and remittance.
According to GBOS, real GDP was estimated to have grown by 4.6 percent in 2017 compared to 0.4 percent in 2016 and also higher than the sub- Saharan Africa average growth rate of 2.8 percent.
In 2018, economic recovery was expected to strengthen further with real GDP growth projected at 5.4 percent on the back of continued implementation of sound macroeconomic policies, structural reforms and strong performance of the services sector and construction.
The fiscal situation, which deteriorated during the political crises, has improved due to strengthen fiscal discipline and external support. Furthermore, the new government made some considerable progress, with reduction in domestic borrowing and inflation control; resulting in steady decline in the interest rates with the average interest rate falling from 18% as end of 2016 to 6% of early 2017.
Tight expenditure restraints and resource mobilization (domestically and externally) contribute to fiscal consolidation by increasing tax revenue and reengaging key donors to secure budget support and grant financing, whilst the revision of 2017 budget pruned down spending an increased non – tax revenue from1.7% of GDP in 2016 to 7.4% in 2017.
Foreign exchange reserve has gone from less than a month of import coverage to more than four months as at the end of year 2017. Given a major shift in the country’s political direction, the new government has developed a new medium-term development plan for 2018 to 2021 (NDP).
Chairperson, distinguish guest, Ladies and gentlemen, all these efforts are done to support the Gambian people and particularly the young people.
Therefore, the two days forum is an opportunity for Government to listen to issues of young entrepreneurs, understand their vision and take-home recommendation and suggestion to improved in our public service deliver
And It’s with a great pleasure and honour that I deliver the official opening statement on the occasion of this great event organized by the Gambia youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC) with the support of Konrad.
The Government of Gambia under the leadership of H.E Adama Barrow believe that MSMEs are critical and very pivotal in development of the Country
Therefore, this event is timely and very welcome by the government as it compliments and contribute to the National development Plan. We are watching and we are aware of the good work of GYCC and its partners and we encourage you to continue doing what you do as you are tract.
In conclusion, ladies and gentle, on behalf of the Government of Gambia I wish to congratulate Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce once and its German partner Konrad Adenauer Foundation for the for foresight and initiative in complementing Government efforts.
I finally want to re-assure you under the leadership of H.E Adama Barrow, Government will continue to give you all the support to help you deliver to the young people of the country specially our rural youth and women.
My doors are open for any support when the need arise, on this note I wish to officially declare the two days High-Level Policy Forum Open and looking forward to receiving the outcome document of the discussions.
At end of the Two day, inter-face. participants presented an OUTCOME document of the issued and recommendation to the Chairman of the Trade Committee of national Assembly/ Member of Parliament forward deliver to the speaker and likewise to director of Trade at Ministry of Trade of the Gambia for action.