26.2 C
City of Banjul
Sunday, July 21, 2024

Gambia’s foreign investment rises to over D17BLN

- Advertisement -
image 27

By Omar Bah

The Gambian investment landscape has transformed dramatically since 2017, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

It said the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows have skyrocketed, rising from a modest $18 million to an astonishing $249 million (D17,156,100,000) in 2021.

- Advertisement -

“The increase is attributed to growing investor interest in diverse sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, and real estate.

The momentum continued in 2022, with FDI levels remaining robust at $236 million. This surge is not just about numbers; it signifies a burgeoning confidence in The Gambia’s economic potential”.

According to UNCTAD, the significant surge in FDI is driven by strategic reforms and enhanced investor confidence.

- Advertisement -

UNCTAD however highlighted and identified areas for further improvement to sustain this growth trajectory.

“The Gambia has been making headlines with its impressive surge in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) since the implementation of the Investment Policy Review (IPR) in 2017. This upward trajectory has positioned the country as a beacon of investment in West Africa,” UNCTAD said in a report analysing the progress of these initiatives, highlighting significant improvements while also pointing out areas that need further attention.

The investment boom, UNCTAD added, has been widespread across various sectors.

“The issuance of Special Investment Certificates (SIC) to non-Gambians tripled between 2021 and 2023 compared to the 2014–2016 period. Manufacturing and agriculture have been the top beneficiaries, attracting significant investments. Additionally, The Gambia has advanced its energy exploration efforts through partnerships with global oil, gas, and hydrogen companies, drawing investors from diverse regions including Germany, India, Lebanon, and the United States,” the report added.

Key reforms and legislative changes

According to UNCTAD, the Gambia government has undertaken several reforms to enhance the investment climate.

“Key legislative changes include clarifying regulations under the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) Act and introducing a new Labour Act. These reforms aim to provide clearer guidelines on investment, export, and administrative procedures, thereby fostering a more predictable and investor-friendly environment,” it added.

It added that the adoption of regional investment agreements like the Ecowas Common Investment Code and the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement have further strengthened the country’s position as an attractive investment destination.

“These agreements enhance regional integration and market access, providing Gambian businesses with new opportunities to expand their reach,” it stated.

Despite the significant progress, the UN agency revealed that The Gambia still faces challenges that could hinder its investment potential.

“One major area of concern is the need for further clarification and reform of investment legislation. The conditions for government intervention in strategic industries and the lack of clarity around expropriation conditions are some of the issues that need to be addressed,” it noted.

Land management remains a critical hurdle, with complex land regimes and lengthy title registration processes posing significant obstacles. Additionally, the tax regime requires streamlining to reduce the fiscal burden on sectors like ICT, which is crucial for the country’s digital transformation.

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img