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Economywatch Welcome Alieu Secka, the private sector apex body new CEO

Oct 23, 2013, 12:14 PM | Article By: Osman Kargbo

It is like a good news from a distant land to read in the papers that the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has got a new captain in the person of Alieu Secka to steer the affairs of the umbrella body for private sector in The Gambia.

Mr Alieu Secka is a seasoned and experienced private sector player who has a fine track-record in the domain of entrepreneurship and business administration.

As the GCCI rightly states, Mr Secka is familiar with the business environment and the opportunities and challenges of the private sector.

Armed with a wealth of practical experience in business management and an academic background in Strategy, Corporate and Financial Administration, the seasoned entrepreneur has championed momentous transformations in the private sector, prominent among them leadership and positive advocacy in the tourism industry.

He has served as Chairman of Gambia Hotel Association (GHA), Africa Travel Association, Leadership for Conservation, and as Director of Labour Advisory Board, Reliance Financial Services, among others.

In his tenure as chairman of the GHA, over the past six to seven years, the association brought remarkable achievements into the tourism sector.

The sector registered tremendous growth in variety and class of hotels in the country, ranging from the international brands of Sheraton Hotel and Laico Atlantic Hotel, to the world class Coco Ocean Resort, the top selling Kairaba Beach Hotel, Dunes Resort, Golden Beach, Njeliba, and the SunSwing Beach Hotel.

In line with diversifying the tourism source markets, the GHA under Mr Secka championed the sub-regional tourism marketing in 2007, which has contributed in attracting several thousands of guests to The Gambia to enjoy their holidays.

“We also advocated for the hosting of the Africa Travel Association Congress in 2010, which brought travel and tourism professionals from all over Africa, the US and the rest of the world to experience and sample the warmth of The Gambia, which they can in turn promote to potential guests,” Mr Secka once said in an interview with the press.

“Working with CNN, we were also able to run 40 spots on the largest satellite network in the world. We further partner constructively with the Ministry of Tourism, the Gambia Tourism Board and other stakeholders to promote The Gambia together.

“Through dialogue and engagement, we regularly engage all partners in promoting one of The Gambia’s largest sector investments in Travel & Tourism, estimated at GMD808.3 million or 10% of total investment in 2011.”

Mr Secka has been invited worldwide to deliver papers on The Gambia’s tourism successes and challenges, which gives the GHA a further platform to promote Destination Gambia.

He is also humbled to have been recognised by The Gambia Government in its honour’s list, the Africa Travel Association, and the Africa Quarterly Travel magazine, for his modest efforts in bringing about some of the growth and remarkable achievements in The Gambia’s tourism sector.

It is therefore expected that Mr Secka will demonstrate his wealth of experience, leadership quality and administrative knowhow in wielding the affairs of the GCCI in the days, months and years to come.

As the Voice of Business, the GCCI renews its commitment to transformational thinking geared towards ease of doing business in The Gambia “with the ultimate aim of an increase” in private sector actors in line with Vision 2020, pro-poor, employment expansion and wealth creation.

“Therefore moving forward,” the GCCI press release states, “we are pleased to have selected leadership that will drive this energy.”

Founded in 1967, the GCCI is a non-profit member driven organization that facilitates business development, promotes trade, and advances the interests of Gambia business nationally and internationally.

The GCCI provides business development and trade enquiry service to companies with trade and investment interests in The Gambia.

It also provides opportunities for business people to be informed by and be exposed to the ideas of successful leaders.

Recognised as an authoritative voice for Gambian investment by the Government of The Gambia and regional and international bodies, the GCCI holds trade fairs and events to enable networking and showcasing of business opportunities.

It currently has over 700 member companies and is a member of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), the Federation of West African Employers Association (FWAEA/FOPAO) and the Pan-African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PACCI).

It is re-positioned as a centre of excellent service that is highly committed to serving the needs of its membership, as it continues to build effective partnerships that bring about economic growth and enterprise development.

To achieve its vision, the GCCI strives hard to make doing business easier in The Gambia, which also means that as the voice of commerce in the business community, the chamber will continue to lobby and also partner with government to act on issues of concern to its members.

There are many challenges Mr Secka would have to wrestle with as he takes up the mantle of steering the affairs of the GCCI.

But as I round up this write-up, I would like to just draw Mr Secka’s attention to what the President of the GCCI said recently as regards the strategic plan of the chamber for 2014.

He said: “The whole idea of the GCCI is to strengthen the base of our export, because it is fundamental that for you to build a country or a nation, you need to have a strong middle class and in order to have a strong middle class you need to be able to create wealth and indigenous people have to be part of the wealth creation scheme and the GCCI will be supporting and promoting that in tandem with the Government of The Gambia.”