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Access to Finance and Business Capital Tops Agenda,As Regional Confab Opens

Oct 9, 2008, 4:23 AM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

A three-day Regional Workshop on Non-traditional modes of access to finance and business capital kicked off at the Paradise Suites Hotel yesterday.

The three-day programme, organised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) brought together participants from Nigeria, Benin, Guinea, among other countries in the subregion.

The workshop will among other issues discuss modes of access to finances and in what way to work with finance and non-financial organisations in accessing finance.

It will also discuss presentations on the financing framework for SMEs in the ECOWAS region, discuss SMEs experiences on accessing finance experience-sharing and challenges of SMEs on accessing finance.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Alfred Mahamadu Braimah, Director, Private Sector ECOWAS underscored the importance of the workshop in helping SMEs have better understanding on accessing finance.

According to Mr Braimah, sustainable development can only be achieved if the private sector is taken on board. "The private sector is the engine of growth and thus needs the creation of an enabling environment for its development," he said.

Deputising for the Chief Executive Officer of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Mrs. Beatrice Prom, Communication officer GCCI, noted that the workshop could not have come at a better time than now.

According to Mrs Prom, access to finance has always been a headache to the development of SMEs whom, she added, form the bulk of the country's private sector.

"One of the main problems facing SMEs is access to finance, and this workshop will give them the opportunity to have a better understanding of how to have access to finance," she added.