He told delegates at the American Chambers of Commerce annual general meeting at the Sahel Plaza on Friday: “The creation of American Chamber of Commerce in The Gambia shows the collaborative efforts and desires of The Gambia and American people to work closely in the area of trade. Entrepreneurship creates jobs and helps improve lives.”
Ambassador Stafford while also making direct reference to the growing tide of illegal migration among Gambian youth said the country will have to take some deliberate but progressive economic actions to ending the phenomenon.
He added : “We need to take deliberate action to improve our economy and help end back way…There is a growing interest in America in reaching out to Africa…I will think of ways in which we can build some kind of partnership with incubators in the US which may be helpful. The US Embassy has also released a song on back way which is available for free download online.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Stafford has also announced that The Gambia can only win back its position in the African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA if the country addresses some of its human rights issues.
“I know you are concern of The Gambia’s expulsion from AGOA. The Gambia’s expulsion from AGOA is a result of the human rights situation in the country which has to be addressed,’ he added.
On December 23 last year, the United States dropped The Gambia from the free trade agreement, the African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000, in response to what they said was the country’s ‘crackdown on LGBT rights and other human rights concerns’.
However, American Chamber of Commerce of The Gambia has been involved in helping young Gambians in the area of entrepreneurship. The institution’s President, Abdoulie Bax Touray, said helping in creating more entrepreneurs who will create jobs and improve the country’s export earnings is the sure path to strengthening the dalasi against major currencies.
He added: “We are all taking about the depreciation of the dalasi against major currencies but there is no magical formula behind that. The simple explanation is that we are importing and not exporting. If we have entrepreneurs, our exporting capacity as a nation will improve and with it the value of our money.
“The dollar is now about 53 and from there it is going 60. Amcham is here to improve the business interaction between the US and The Gambia. There are in fact some US franchises in the country: Western Union, Coca Cola, Money Gram et cetera… If as a nation, we are not self-sufficient in chickens and eggs, then we have a long way to go…Take charge of the management and direction of the Amcham because we are very much focused on youth and women and we are ready to help them in every possible way we can. That is why we are here and we are urging the young people to take advantage of that.”
Kebba Tamsir Njie, the chief executive officer of the American Chamber of Commerce, spoke of the activities that Amcham has undertaken during the course of 2014.
He said his organisation has organised, among many events, the franchise seminar, the youths entrepreneurship week, incubator project in The Gambia for the first time, micro enterprise training programme funded by Growth and Competitive Project and global entrepreneurship week.
The event also witnessed the election of three new members to serve on the institution’s board of directors. Amcham’s financial report for the year ended was also unanimously adopted by its members as well as the launch of its magazine.]]>