By Olimatou Coker
The Women Business Advocacy Group (WBAG) on Tuesday met stakeholders at a breakfast meeting to discuss and develop a new work plan for 2023 -2024.
The meeting, among other things, discussed advocacy efforts in promoting the role of women in public procurement.
The association which is under the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), is eager to address procurement challenges faced by women in small and medium enterprises.
Madame Fatoumatta Jawara- Dukureh, the chairperson of WBAG, disclosed that advocacy activities such as the stakeholder meeting will empower Gambian women to enhance national development.
“We are here to discuss, interact and understand a better way forward to see how we can support the goals of the WBAG in empowering Gambian women, especially those in business,” said Madam Dukureh, adding that there is ample evidence of the importance of business women in national development.
Ms Sarata Conateh, chief executive officer of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said WBA action plan is not only exciting but very important not only for WBAG but for women in business in general.
CEO Conateh encouraged all women present at the meeting to discuss more in order to fine tune the action plan that they have and together have impactful results at the end of 2023.
Ramatou Barry- Gaye, the Consultant of WBAG, dilated on the strategic plan of the group saying it can help in building the capacity of women entrepreneurs in the Gambia.
She said their new plan focuses on improving the business environment; champion the gender sensitive responsive procurement the involvement of women in decision making in implementation of local and national plans and also the general business environment, the ease of doing business, and how to address some of these challenges to ultimately create wealth for women as well as to increase the participation of women in public procurement.
“And one of the key elements that stands out is to have a 30% affirmative action for women to be involved in procurement processes and to encourage them to bid in for government to reserve 30% basically, for women to actively participate in procurement”, she said.
According to her women are underrepresented in procurement and tendering opportunities and that need to be changed.
She called for more collaboration basically more support from government and international partners, and also having the needed financial resources. “Its a collaborative effort. without the support of all stakeholders, it will be impossible to deliver,” he stated
Also speaking the minister of finance Seedy Keita said the empowerment of women is a step in the right direction towards economic growth.
“Economic development cannot be achieved without supporting the empowerment of women, because women constitute more than 50% of the population. So, any economic activity that those not include them is not a recipe for success” he said.
Minister Keita said once women take their rightful place in public procurement, they expect diversity and value for money.
The WBAG group was established in 2019 to encourage women to venture into sustainable businesses and procurement for economic growth and development.
Yusupha Keta of the ITC, and Mariyan Jabang, the Director at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare also delivered statements at the event.