The objective of the forum, according to the organisers, is to enlighten and engage The Gambia’s public and private sectors on the opportunities of possible partnership with European companies.
Addressing the gathering, the CEO of WACP, Gain Matteo Balestrini stated: “The West Africa Constellation programme is an industrial box that has as its mission the industrialisation and provision of sustainable site service to interested companies. This includes areas of logistics and institutional relations. The project which is apolitical aims only to achieve the sustainable development of the host country. Our priority intervention is to ensure the feasibility of economic projects in the pipeline, in pursuit of effective interventions that generate a return for the companies and opportunities as well as use of local personnel with proper training.
“In respect of the intervention of the host state, the guidelines provide for mandatory inclusion of local staff and training of local technicians. The programme also aims to ensure the autonomous conduct of that operation, ensuring economic and political independence.
Industrial investments are aimed at achieving the real purpose of doing business in West Africa by involving and training local staff. They will embark on autonomous and proactive activities, ensuring the area of their management is in local hands. This will involve direct partnership with a foreign company, for the support of technologies, machinery and formation of the local workers. This is the concept of sustainable development.”
Also speaking , the president of Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry based in Nigeria, Bai Matarr Drammeh said: “WACP was initiated to help us because we have limited finances and for those who have it have to be brought here in The Gambia. And they have to expalin to us how to access it. We need the funds, they have it and they are willing to finance it. We must be prepared to take up the opportunity. This initiative is to provide an opportunity to see if that is possible to make it happen.
“West Africa Constellation Programme was established with the aim to build business linkages between The Gambia and Europe by sea and air. We want Banjul to be the hub where goods are brought for people to come and do shopping here whereas they will no longer travel to Dubai and India for business. Our gigantic goal is to make Banjul an investment hub where people will buy goods and make The Gambia a business centre.”
Yankuba Saidy, project development and appraisal manager at GIEPA, in his remarks said: “The investment forum is also an opportunity for match-making for Gambian companies to potentially forge relationships with European companies to do better. Similarly, Gambian companies who want to tap into European markets and do not have the opportunity to do so, due to stringent entry requirements into the European union, can forge links with these companies and be able to access the same markets.”]]>