The trade fair, underway at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, is being conducted on the theme: ‘Connecting businesses, creating opportunities’.
Organisers said the fair is designed to bring more opportunities to entrepreneurs and businesses, especially homegrown establishments.
Vice President Tambajang said the fair is an opportunity to provide the much needed platforms for greater visibility of Gambian products and businesses.
It is also a testimony of the unwavering efforts of GCCI, who are aimed at giving voice to small, medium and large enterprises.
She said President Barrow, as a businessman himself, understands the challenges of the “hardworking businessmen and women” who have sacrificed a lot for the country.
From the onset, the government administration has taken bold initiatives aimed at confronting the limiting factors that can be traced to the 22 years of repression and willful distortion of the business environment, the vice president said.
She added: “We assumed power with the full view of the need to successfully tackle these challenges right away in order to create a business friendly environment to stimulate economic growth and development.”
Madam Jallow-Tambajang further explained that the government is to embark on institutional and legal reforms needed to bring back the private sector confidence in the government machinery.
“To that end, we would actively engage the GCCI to quickly chart a way forward for the competitiveness of Gambian business,” she stated.
She also pointed out that as a new administration, it is an open secret that the current government had inherited a mess from the previous administration and they are aware of the fact that it is their responsibility to fix the mess and “as a government, we are determined to put The Gambia back to work”.
“Any government policy and incentives that fail to recognise the private sector as the engine of economic growth will eventually fail,” she said. “It is from this angle that my administration hopes to closely work with the private sector and private sector institutions to engineer economic growth.”
Naffie Barry, permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment, in her remarks, said GCCI has been an outstanding partner to the Gambia government in shaping the business environment that has been consistently rated favourably within the ECOWAS region over the years.
Commenting on the ongoing trade fair, Madam Barry said it provides an excellent platform for the country’s producers to showcase their products and also be able to network with those that have better understanding of the global distribution channels.
Madam Barry said the fair would also provide an opportunity for Gambian businesses to benchmark themselves against producers of similar products in terms of quality features.
She noted that the private sector growth is widely acknowledged to be an essential component in the alleviation of poverty as a means of providing more and different economic opportunities in any given society.
The permanent secretary said the government continues to engage in reforms to enhance competitiveness in recognition of the pivotal role of the private sector in national development.
GCCI president Muhammed Jagana spoke on the importance of the trade fair and its benefits to businesses in the country and foreign investments.
He also appealed to members of the private sector to join GCCI and to the general public to attend the trade fair at the Independence Stadium.