By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Agriculture and Employers Association have recently held a press conference at the GCCI building Kerr Jula in Bijilo on the GCCI activities and launch of the Trade Fair Gambia International.
The press briefing was done with its board members under the theme ‘economic transformation for Gambian business empowerment’.
Speaking at the gathering, President of GCCI, Muhammed Jagana, said: “Persistent youth unemployment and underemployment carries very high economic costs and threatens the very fabric upon which our society is built
“Private Sector Development (PSD) is a strategy for promoting economic growth and reducing poverty in The Gambia. This is achieved by building private enterprises, membership organizations to represent them as in the case of Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), and competitive markets that are stronger and more inclusive.
“After participating in developing the Private Sector Development Strategy for The Gambia, GCCI continues to push for its implementation, as well as work diligently with our partners to advocate for a conducive environment for Gambian businesses.
He said failure to generate sufficient private sector jobs can result in long-lasting “scarring” effects on our young people such as the “Backway Syndrome”.
For his part, Chairman of the trade fair committee, Bajara Jabbie, said the upcoming trade fair will commence on the 24th of March to 15th of April, 2018.
He added that a fundamental pillar in the realization of the New Gambia is to pursue a meaningful transformation of the country’s economy and the empowerment. He said it also involves active participation of its local businesses, particularly youth owned enterprises.
“Therefore, the policy reforms that GCCI is advocating for would facilitate an enabling environment for business. It would be very difficult for The Gambia to prosper without a strong private sector. Consequently, the focus on the discussion around local private ownership needs to be centered on ownership by Gambians or residents of The Gambia.
“Given its key role in the economy, entrepreneurship must be the heartbeat of this country. It is only through entrepreneurship that people who possess the skills, risk their resources and time to invest establish enterprises. Entrepreneurial skills serve as a source of employment creation, directly and indirectly. This strategy will enable The Gambia to grow its economy systematically and attain economic development, wealth creation and better standard of living for its citizens.
“Furthermore, through this initiative, youths will not only be job seekers but most importantly job creators,” he added.