Jan 4, 2013, 8:31 AM
The ceremony was witnessed by cabinet ministers, among other government officials and dignitaries, as part of commemoration of The Gambia’s Golden Jubilee independence anniversary.
Club Foire was established in 2011, and has embarked on the empowerment of girls through vocational and skills training; it currently trains 20 young girls on tailoring.
In her inaugural speech, Minister Fatou Lamin Faye spoke of the importance of education and training in the socio-economic development of the country.
She said the government of The Gambia recognizes the pivotal role technical and vocational training contributes to national socio-economic development though the acquisition of vocational and technical skills.
In pursuing the noble objective of promoting an all-inclusive skills training programme, the Ministry in its central role of transforming The Gambia into a skills-based economy and knowledge society is poised to increase public-private partnership in skills training, she said.
“It was against this background that the National Training Authority (NTA) recognized and registered the Club Foire Skills Training Centre, The Gambia Chapter as a Skills Training Centre,” she added.
The provision of relevant skills, particularly in tailoring and related fields, she continued, would immensely contribute in reducing unemployment among women and youths and addressing the skills gap in the country.
The Gambia government through the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, has put in place policies and strategies that would address the labour market demands and, by extension, reduce the foreign domination in trades such as tailoring, carpentry and fishing, among others, she went on.
Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Abubacarr Senghore, encouraged and welcomed the skills centre initiative, adding that graduates should not regard the vocational training industry as a last option.
He said they want to ensure that all industry programmes achieve their objectives, and urged the students to be trained efficiently.
Club Foire president Malick Mendy said the association was established primarily as a network of small and medium business enterprises that are seeking to export Gambian products mainly fashion, handcrafts and foodstuff.
He said this would be through regional and international trade fairs, which was developed through discussions and interactions during the trade seminars and other business events organized by the US Embassy in Banjul and West Africa Trade Hub (WAITH), as part of their efforts to promote trade with the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The association has nearly 100 members, most of whom are women, he said, and they are committed to making the network one of the most successful business associations in the country.
He added that through their efforts, some of the members have participated in trade fairs in The Gambia and the ECOWAS trade fair in Togo.
The association also works closely with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), he said.
Through its fundraising, he said, the association has undertaken numerous philanthropic gestures in the health sector, both in cash and kind.