#Article (Archive)

GIPFZA Hosts Investment Forum,

Jun 3, 2008, 5:42 AM | Article By: By Yerro Mballow & Njie Baldeh

As Gambia Celebrates 9 Edition Roots Festival

As part of their mandate to promote investment in The Gambia, The Gambia Investments Promotion and Free Zones Agency, (GIPFZA) on Saturday 31st May hosted an investment forum as part of the 9th Edition of the International Roots Festival at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Senegambia.

The forum offered a window of opportunity to widen their scope of understanding on investment promotion and operating with free zones agencies and partners in achieving their investment objectives in the Gambian context.

The forum also witnessed the convergence of guests from Jamaica, USA, UK, Spain as well as other parts of Europe to discuss issues related to tourism and culture. The welcoming remarks were delivered by the permanent secretary at the Employment department Mr. Lamin Dampha who was deputising the Secretary of State for DOSTIE. He said the homecoming Roots Festival is not only to come together and celebrate our beauty, culture and tradition but to come together as one family to discuss problems affecting Africa and envision a new future for Africa. He added corruption should be a key factor of centering discussion. According to him, in 2003, reports indicated that funds gathered are estimated between seven and 35 billion Dalasis and 3% of the Global-Fund.

He revealed that since Africa has pursued a lot of enterprises, it is therefore imperative to reduce poverty and increase investment. He added that the government of The Gambia has implemented policies to promote investment and in October 1996 The Gambia engaged with the International Trade Union and became a legal member in 2004. He said in 2007 the Gambian Government enacted the Labour and Enterprises Policy to enable it to attain its goal.

In her presentation on the investment opportunities in The Gambia, the Director of the investment promotion and marketing at the GIPFZA office, Madam Fatou Mbenga Jallow, revealed that GIPFZA is aimed at promoting investment and fostering local and foreign direct investment, adding that it also performs policy advocacy for GIPFZA services. Mrs. Mbenga Jallow said they offered administration and management of free zones and Business partners, administration of incentives as well as project proposal guidance. According to her, GIPFZA's priority areas for investment are agriculture, fisheries, tourism, manufacturing, information and communication technology, river and air transport, health and veterinary services and skills development. In relation to why The Gambia is attractive for investors Mrs. Mbenga Jallow said it's due to our liberal market economy, easy way of doing business, infrastructure, efficient seaport and Air facilities as well as attractive investment promotion incentives.

For her part, The Director of Trade and Investment Promotion at The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry spoke on the roles and activities of GCCI. Mrs. Beatrice Allen said that GCCI was established in 1967 with the mission of working for the private sector. She underscored the importance of GCCI noting that it engaged Government in all policies affecting the private sector and organised Trade and investment missions abroad and The Gambia.

The Director of product Development and investment at The Gambia Tourism Authority GTU, Mr. Modou S. Jobe, said the advantages tourists enjoy are Gambia's peace, political stability, pleasant sub tropical climate, abundant sunshine, unpolluted sandy beaches and abundant bird and wild life among other things. He said GTA's objectives are to boost visitors to The Gambia. The forum ended with a question and answer session. The closing remarks were delivered by Mr. Kebba Senghore, permanent secretary at the Department of State for Tourism and Culture. Kebba T Njie chaired the forum.