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Feb 23, 2015, 10:03 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Aluworld Investors Forum wrapped up last Monday at the Senegambia Beach Hotel organized under the auspicious of the President of the Federation of West Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry in The Gambia, Bai Matarr Drammeh.

The Aluworld Company is a newly-established company in The Gambia, with its base in Italy and its offers aluminum windows, aluminum doors, aluminum curtain walls and sliding doors, among others.

Speaking at the forum, the president of Aluworld, Bai Matarr Drammeh, stressed that the forum was all about exposing quality products into the country.

He said in any developing nation, there is a need to move away from raw manufacture items to quality items.

Mr Drammeh pointed out that Aluworld is a company that offers quality items like aluminum windows and doors, office furniture, aluminum curtain walls, aluminum sliding doors and products made in Italy with Italian design and styles.

“We registered Aluworld in The Gambia and our objective is to penetrate not only in The Gambia, but in the whole of the sub-region,” he stated.

Drammeh noted that Gambia is going to be their base, and he assured his audience that in a few months to come all what they are selling would be manufactured in The Gambia, and the factory would also be built in the country.

He said it was part of their plan also to train some Gambians in Italy so they would know the whole process.

He described the move as geared toward national development, and providing employment for the young unemployed.

Speaking at the forum, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Mrs Naffie Barry, said the objectives of the Aluworld investors forum was to enlighten and engage building contractors, architects and consultants in The Gambia on the opportunities of possible partnership with European companies.

“It is useful to take this opportunity and explain why investment is important, and what it can do for our country and people,” she said.

People live in a globalized world, where the pace of technological change is staggering, she went on, adding that the extent and speed with which innovations in one country cross borders through exchanges of goods, capital, and ideas is unprecedented.

Among the opportunities globalization gives rise to is the prospect of higher growth and better living standards, she further stated.

By encouraging investors, The Gambia could benefit from technology knowledge, and managerial expertise from abroad, hence triggering vertical integration and the development of supply chains, she continued.

“One important goal of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employmentin line with the Gambia, Investment and Export Promotion Agency GIEPA is to make the country attractive to investors,” she announced.

Considering that around the world interest in regional integration is growing, the investors in The Gambia could take full advantage of the opportunities afforded through ECOWAS, she added.

As an Ecowas member state, investors in The Gambia could gain access to bigger markets to better exploit economies of scale, thus facilitating faster economic growth and greater welfare for The Gambia and its partners countries, PS Barry said.

“Over the years, our construction industry has continued to boom as evident in the number of roads, estates countrywide and so on,” she continued.

Infrastructure as a whole plays a key role in the development of the whole economy, she continued.

It also allows for the movement of goods and resources to markets and provides for the mobility of people into and around the country, she said.

The Government is also aware that despite significant improvements to its infrastructure base, there is still much to be done; hence from 2012 to date through the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment, the Government while encouraging the participation of the private sector has decided to heavily invest in infrastructure, she said.

The Gambia Government, through the Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project, has recently launched the Single Window Business Registry, and one could register a business within a number of hours, she announced.

“While investors seek to establish themselves in the market, we have the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency ready to help in terms of giving practical advice and support trade missions, financial support in terms of tax breaks, introductory market advice, as well as identifyingpartners for joint ventures or hosting networking events,” she further noted.

Mrs Barry informed the Italian guests that The Gambia offers a wide range of exciting opportunities to grow in a business-friendly environment, with the full support of the government.

To the private sector operators, she went on, the partnership with Italian investors would be a gateway to the European Union, and nations with businesses that offer a wealth of expertise in the areas needed.

The permanent secretary Ministry of Transport, Works and infrastructure, Abdoulie Camara , said the objective of the forum was to encourage Gambian and foreign entrepreneurs to form a partnership and invest in The Gambia.

It was, therefore, heartening to note that Vision 2020, the PAGE and Vision 2016 all have linkages with this noble goal, he said.

While Vision 2020 speaks of the private sector as being the engine of growth in the economy, the PAGE calls for, among other things, investment in infrastructure to boost productivity, and thus give rise to growth and development, he said.

Vision 2016 complements these objectives by calling for the provision of access to the rural economy, and opening it up to boost agricultural productivity, he added.

Consistent with these objectives is the need to create a partnership between national and foreign entrepreneurs, in order to enhance the flow of direct foreign investments coming into the country, he stated.

Introducing GIEPA to the investors and the rationale behind the agency and its mandate, a senior manager Investment Promotion and Facilitation at GIEPA, Abdoulie Hydara, said GIEPA is the national agency responsible for the promoting and facilitating private sector investment to The Gambia.

The agency aims to create the right climate to attract foreign direct investment into the country, he said.

Offering investor-facilitation services, the agency acts as investors’ first point of contact, provides information on relevant procedures for setting up a business and helps form the necessary operations, he told the Italian delegates.