Speaking on behalf of GIEPA CEO Fatou Jallow at the recent Tango dialogue themed ‘Women and productive resources’,Ms. Fatajo explained:
“The Gambia’s economy is agriculture based which has generated a lot of applause .But there is an old Chinese proverb which says ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’ .We at GIEPA say try to ‘teach the person to process and package and market that fish for export for economic development’ .We need to graduate them from the informal sector to the formal sector so that they can access finance from the banks”.
She added that if the country is to continue its trajectory of impressive economic growth to create prosperity and eliminate poverty more efforts must be made to increase their contribution and participation in the formal economy.
“Some 60 percent of our businesses in the informal sector are operated by women .Informal sector businesses are at a disadvantage because they are forced to rely on internal support like family .We at Giepa recognize that small and medium size business enterprises face major constraints which need to be addressed .Microfinance has made great strides in The Gambia during the last decade.The rural finance project intitated by the ministry of agriculture complemented by the Social Development Fund ,Reliance Financial Services and GAWFA have continued to do a great job but more needs to be done.
“They lack technical knowledge and skills to strike a balance between work and family life. T herefore at GIEPA we are dedicated to capacity building through training and other educational programs .Our capacity building programs aim to build secure, sustainable and strong organsiations with particular emphasis on motivation and inspiration for people to improve their lives”.
She maintained that the key desired outcomes of their efforts is to enhance women participation in business ,enhancing their organizational capacity at the local level and finally graduating them to taking active part in the global economy.
Mariama Fatajo concluded that international aid should also be sought and used to develop indigenous science and technology for long term utilisation to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
By Sainey Darboe]]>