The Gambia Cashew and Sesame Sector Development and Export Strategy and launch of the Trade Information Reference Centre will facilitate the access to key trade information ranging from business requirements, market access, trade policy and strategy for Gambian businesses, policy makers as well as foreign clients.
Charles Roberge, the associate adviser on export strategy at the International Trade Centre explained: “Since 2012, International Trade Centre has been supporting the implementation of trade-related enhanced integrated framework projects in several least developing countries including in The Gambia, Cambodia, Nepal, Lesotho and Burkina Faso.
“The Gambia’s trade development potential is significant. It is blessed with a supportive business environment, efficient port facilities and is endowed with a good climate conducive for agricultural production. Given the relatively small size of the domestic market, it is important for The Gambia to be able to access both regional and global markets. In a world where global economic shocks and fluctuating commodity prices can have a devastating effect on a small economy like The Gambia, it is important to broaden the exports base to reduce vulnerability to economic shocks,” he said.
As part of the project, Mr Roberge said the trade center has helped to provide a clear roadmap for export diversification by assisting The Gambia to develop export strategies for two sectors with high export potentials, namely cashew and sesame. He added that the project has provided valuable assistance to the groundnut sector, which is the country’s most dominant export commodity through targeted capacity building assistance in quality management.
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Naffie Barry, however noted that in order to advance the development of cashew and sesame production, “there is need for support from donors, private sector, international organisations as well as government contributions”.
Speaking during the launching ceremony, Ms Barry said: “A national coordination committee has been established for each sector which is a representative public and private body to coordinate, monitor and manage the implementation of the respective sector strategies. However, in order to sustain the interventions and advance the development of the sectors there is need for support from donors, the private sector and international organisations as well as government contributions.
“In response to the provision of better trade information services to businesses, researchers and other stakeholders, a national level trade information services has been developed through the establishment of a trade information reference centre within the premises of the Ministry of Trade and the creation of a national level trade information network of relevant trade support institutions in The Gambia.”
The Trade Information Network is a result of an inclusive process of cooperation among 20 organisations (including government ministries, the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and sector associations) who have committed to create conducive framework for facilitating access to trade information through sharing, exchanging and disseminating relevant, up-to-date and timely information, she said.
By Alagie Manneh]]>