By Momodou Jawo
The Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment Dr. Isatou Touray on Thursday presided over the launching of the Africa Economic Outlook Report 2017 at a local hotel in Bakau.
The African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2017 shows that the continent’s performance was uneven in 2016 in regard to economic, social and governance indicators, but prospects are favourable for 2017 and 2018.
Dr. Isatou Touray said the African Economic Outlook Report 2017 carefully examines the macroeconomic performance, financing, trade policies and regional integration, human development, and governance on the continent, adding that it goes further to explain how entrepreneurship can contribute to Africa’s industrialization and advise on the policy choices to do so.
As recommended by the report, she added, Africa’s industrialization strategies would be different from the experiences of the rest of the world as it does not have to rely solely on manufacturing sector but also incorporate additional sectors with high-growth potential, such as agro-processing and services with high value addition.
“This report is very much consistent with the current thinking of my ministry and the government at large. I have just presented a cabinet paper on the institutional coordinating structure of business development with emphasis on active private sector participation as well as strong political leadership,” she stated.
Dr. Touray explained that they have recently finalised a National Entrepreneurship Policy not only to promote and facilitate entrepreneurship development but also direct such energy to sectors with high growth potentials.
For his part, the UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje said the Gambia’s growth declined to 2.1% in 2016 due to policy slippages and electoral uncertainty. Growth is expected to rebound to 3.5% in 2017 and 4.8% in 2018, following the peaceful political transition.
Ms. Ade Mamonyane Lekoetye stated that although Gambia has witnessed a degree of structural transformation over the past ten years, the country has not significantly increased the industrial sector’s share in the economy, which recorded only 3% increase between 2004 and 2013 (from 12% in 2004 to 15% in 2013).
The report, she went on, is not only timely but relevant to current national efforts toward implementing the country’s new National Entrepreneurship Policy 2016-2020 and the finalization of the National Development Plan 2018-2021.
“We strongly hope that the findings of this report will be used policy-makers, practitioners and researchers and that will greatly influence public policy and resource allocation to improve of the wellbeing of Gambia citizens and the economy,” she noted.
The permanent secretary Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment Naffie Barry said this report provides compelling inside accounts of Africa’s growth trends and prospects for the next two years in the following crucial areas; macroeconomics, external financial flows, tax revenue, trade policies, regional integration human development and governance.