By Olimatou Coker
The Youth Empowerment Project through International Trade Centre (ITC) and funding from the European Union on Wednesday gave tricycles, e-bikes and bicycles to young entrepreneurs amid covid-19, at a handing over ceremony held at the Ministry of Trade in Banjul.
The support includes 8 tricycles, 5 solar powered tricycles, and 13 bicycles to five logistics companies and young poultry farmers association. The 5 logistics companies were selected based on their potential for growth and in particular for creating jobs for young Gambians.
The initiative directly supports the private sector to create jobs and generate income for young Gambians, boosting the growth of the transport and logistics companies is expected to benefit the wider economy.
Speaking, Yusupha Keita, from International Trade Centre (ITC), said the world celebrated MSMEs day last week. “On this day we recognize the role of the micro small and medium size companies play in the economies around the world.”
“They are the engines of growth and innovation, provide for the bulk of employment and are essential for the socio economic development”.
He stated that, the situation in the Gambia is no different. “MSME in the Gambia account for more than 90% of economic activity and more than 50% of the jobs. Small businesses have been hit particularly hard due to disruption in production, supply chain, transport and logistics and domestic trade,” he said.
He added that, the young entrepreneurs are the problem solvers, “where others see obstacles, you see opportunities. You never give up.”
Attila Lajos, EU ambassador, said the e-bikes will provide an environmentally friendly solution to the transport challenges in the Gambia.
“I have a message for the young entrepreneurs among us and please allow me to quote from Albert Einstein: life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Ambassador Lajos urged the young entrepreneurs to be passionate and always keep moving.
Bai Lamin Jobe, Minister of Trade Integration and Regional Employment, said support provided to the Gambia in many areas including sectors under his ministry, saying that his ministry is closely collaborating with ITC, through the YEP, in support of empowering our youths to be more resourceful and participate more effectively in the economy.
“We are also working closely with ITC in support of women entrepreneurs under the SheTrades Gambia Project to build the production capacities of their businesses to trade more. I wish to assure you of my Ministry’s continued support in the implementation of these two projects and in our collaboration and combine efforts to support the development of the Gambia,” he stated.