Jun 27, 2014, 10:28 AM
SSI –DHV Company based in South Africa, in partnership with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment and Regional Integration, (MOTIE), last Wednesday held a roundtable conference to strengthen private sector participation in public and social infrastructure development.
Held at the Sheraton Hotel in Bijilo, the conference looked at strengthening the existing relationship with Gambia government and discussing issues of possible means of public-private sector partnership on development and investment.
Officials say the SSI is a member company of the DHV Group that offers services in transport, water, energy and resources, the environment, buildings and structures and project and construction management.
Speaking at the forum, Fatou Jallow, CEO, Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency, (GIEPA), expressed appreciation with the delegates for coming to The Gambia to see what can be done in the existing opportunities in the country.
The Gambia government has recognised the need for public-private partnership, she said.
Madam Jallow said the government has in place policies such as the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), in looking at productive sectors to develop as partner.
She emphasised the need to invest in infrastructure, transportation, energy and other sectors. “As a government, efforts have been made to develop a legal framework for The Gambia to encourage public-private participation in development process,” said the GIEPA CEO.
She said GIEPA is an interface between government and the private sector, which is mandated to promote and facilitate investment promotion.
Speaking on the existing opportunities in the country, she attested to the fact The Gambia market is small but “when setting investment one does not look at The Gambia only but the regional market as a whole”.
Mrs Jallow added: “Looking at agriculture, it is not about commercial farming, but more importantly value added.” She noted the existence of farmers group and commercial farmers saying they are challenged with the access to market.
Mrs Jallow highlighted other areas like transportation saying air and shipping are also lucrative investment opportunities.
“We are working on a legal framework of public-private partnership that will give confidence to the private sector,” said the GIEPA CEO.
However, she said there is nothing prohibiting public-private partnership, noting that a legal framework is not in place.
This, she said, if it comes to existence, it will help in the promotion of investment.
Nyami Mandindi, Chief Executive Officer of SSI-DHV, said his company is a high capacity organization, adding that they seek to enhance the society within their operation.
According her, they are involved services such as transportation, energy resources, environment, and building.
She appealed to the potential investors to take advantage of investment opportunities in the country.
However, she indicated that for public-private partnership is very important to clear in terms of objectives and agenda.
She thanked the government for giving them the opportunity to share ideas. She finally gave a rundown of the projects being run by their organization.
Speaking in an interview with this reporter, Musa Jallow, ISS-DHV Project Manager for sub-Saharan Africa, said they have come to The Gambia to partner with the government in helping to achieve its infrastructural development objective.
They are currently having a project in The Gambia, he said, adding that they are supervising the Soma-Basse road.
“Now we want to look at energy, electricity, water resources, bridges to work with the government,” Mr Jallow said.
He revealed that they have been in consultation with the Government of The Gambia to know about the country and assess investment opportunities on the ground.