By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC) last Thursday concluded a two-day seminar on the Africa Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) for 30 cross-border entrepreneurs, traders with export potentials at the NaNA conference hall.
The theme for the seminar was ‘enhancing the capacity of youth and women border traders’ on Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and its reporting mechanism to facilitate intra-Africa trade.
The training is funded by the entrepreneurship and private sector development project under the Ministry of Trade through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Ismaila Sambou, GYCC president described AfCFTA as a significant milestone in the journey to Africa’s free trade integration and development.
“Women in business should be fully engaged in determining the agenda for the establishment and implementation of the AfCFTA.”
Sambou maintained that boosting productivity and closing the gaps in resources between women and men in trade could change the trajectory of the AfCFTA, leading to foster implementation and shared prosperity.
He therefore challenged governments, trade unions and actors to take bold actions to ensure that micro and small enterprises owned primarily by women and youth are not left behind.
Omar Kanteh, focal person for Non-Tariff Barriers at Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment said regional integration of African economies has for many decades been the long-lasting goal of African leaders, as it offers a fair distribution of trade benefit liberalisation.
Alagie Jarju, executive director of National Youth Council said having the mechanism is one achievement, but the biggest achievement will be how they ensure it is fully implemented.
Abdou Touray, program specialist at UNDP deputizing the Resident Representative, said Gambia’s future depends on the quality of young people, saying the country can produce and export the best.
The agreement, he added, holds a lot of benefits for African trade, especially in improving economies, making the continent more productive and enterprising, creating jobs and overall improving livelihoods, thus eradicating poverty.