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Sunday, October 1, 2023

PS Barry extols Gambia’s progress in promoting trade


In opening a one-day regional trade facilitation convergence on regional trade integration and transit trade to identify a possible role for the enhanced integration framework co-hosted by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, (UNCTAD) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework, (EIF) the permanent secretary said: “Unduly complex processes and documentation raises costs and causes delays, and ultimately businesses, economies and consumers bear the cost. In that regard, as governments in the region, it is imperative on us to continue pursuing policies and strategies that will simplify trade documentation, automate custom processes for quick clearance of goods, ensure the availability of trade related information and as well as simplify transit formalities and procedure to name few. 

She continued: “Over the years, The Gambia has made significant progress in simplifying procedural requirements for the import and export of goods. The Ministry of Trade has also set up a trade facilitation committee to serve as an avenue for addressing trade facilitation related challenges of the country. The committee is very active and has been able to complete the negotiations that led to the start of the full implementation of the ISRT in The Gambia.”

Further, she assured delegates that the government of The Gambia, trade ministry and other sectors will continue to work hard towards effective implementation of the trade facilitation agreement with a view to enhancing the competitiveness of the transit trade and will be seeking technical assistance from donors for both capacity building and infrastructural development and reforms that are very relevant to trade facilitation. 

The chairperson of the EIF board, Minelik Alemu Getahun, stated: “The subject matter of the workshop was timely and well chosen. I am very pleased that the discussion will be based on concrete country evidence from Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Mali, Niger and Senegal  regarding the challenges for trade facilitation and regional trade identified in their recent Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies, DTIS updates.”

UNCTAD has been working on trade facilitation and trade efficiency-related issues for over 40 years and, starting from late 1970s and throughout 1980s, had a division devoted to addressing issues-related to shipping and maritime transport in general, trade facilitation and trade efficiency. 

“Indeed it was the UNCTAD programme on trade facilitation and Expert Working Group on trade efficiency that led in 1994 to the adoption of the Columbus Ministerial Declaration on trade efficiency. This subsequently provided the basis for the inclusion of trade facilitation in the WTO agenda at the first WTO Ministerial Conference held in Singapore in 1996,” Taffere Tesfachew, the director Africa division for LDCs and special programmes at UNCTAD, enunciated.


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