in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) recently gathered to discuss some of the
impediments affecting the growth of their respective businesses.
Organised by The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Office, the day’s business forum seeks to bring to the fore some of the barriers or challenges affecting women entrepreneurs as well as devising means to address some of this barriers.
Sarata Conateh of GCCI, thanked UNDP for coming up with such a laudable initiative, describing the forum as a unique and rare opportunity for the two institutions.
“The reason why I am saying this is because between GCCI and UNDP, we promote and implement a lot of business forums and sessions together. However this one is specific because it is not only targeting women, but a specific issue or area that we believe can open up a lot of opportunities that is why this forum is very important”.
For her part, Nessie Golakai Govld, deputy UNDP representative in The Gambia, outlines the importance of the forum, pointing out that it will avail them the opportunity to not only listen to their experiences, but also challenges confronting women entrepreneurs in the country.
The forum, she went on, would also enable them the opportunity to identify what sort of tools, support and initiative women need to help them better navigate the business environment in the country and beyond.
“The national development plan of The Gambia clearly indicates that the expectations are that it is the private sector that will be engine of growth that will propel this country into a middle income status in the medium term. But we also know that this cannot be done without the full participation of all members of the Gambian society and that includes women, who represent more than 50% of the population”.
Government expenditure including that of UN as well on non-reoccurent items represent 70%, she lamented.
This, she believes, shows that there are a lot of opportunities out there for women to tap into and expand their businesses.
Golakai-Govld expressed optimism that the forum will be first in a series of actions that the two institutions could collaborate to support women entrepreneurs to play an active part in the socio-economic development of the country.
Beatrice Mboge of GCCI also echoed similar sentiments.