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Malaysian investors survey Gambia’s investment opportunities

Aug 1, 2016, 10:10 AM | Article By: Osman Kargbo

A high-level delegation of investors from Malaysia is in The Gambia to examine the country’s investment opportunities for potential win-win business ventures between Gambian and Malaysian entrepreneurs.

The delegation had a vital business forum with members of the Gambian private and public sectors on Saturday 30 July at the secretariat of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in Kerr Serign.

The GCCI in collaboration with Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) and the Embassy of The Gambia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, facilitated the Malaysian Business and Export Acceleration Mission to The Gambia through the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and heads of Malaysian businesses.

“The mission is aimed at enhancing bilateral trade, particularly to increase exports and explore business opportunities through collaboration, partnerships and joint ventures with the Gambian business community,” said the GCCI.

Heads of the Malaysian businesses participating in the mission are from sectors such as renewable energy, power generation, organic waste management, water treatment, road construction and construction related services, consultancy in Islamic banking and finance, medical equipment procurement, IT and telecommunication, oil and gas, Halal foods, beverages, and dairy products.

According to Senior Director Ms Aureen Nonis of MATRADE - a Malaysian government business promotion entity responsible for international outreach – the institution is out to position Malaysia as a global competitive trading nation, through its mission of developing and promoting Malaysia’s enterprises and export to the world.

The Malaysian business delegation was accompanied to The Gambia by the Malaysian ambassador to The Gambia, Sharrina Abdullah, who is based in Dakar.

The ambassador of The Gambia to Malaysia, Abubacarr Jah, was highly commended by the Malaysian delegation for the role he played in getting the trade mission to The Gambia.

Speaking to this paper, the Chief Executive Officer of GIEPA, which promotes and facilitates both investment, as well as export from The Gambia to the outside the world, said the forum is important, as a meeting between Malaysian investors and members of the Gambian private sector could yield positive results.

“This goes to show that the bilateral relations, as governments, between The Gambia and Malaysia, is very good. This is because you must have good relations for the private sector to be able to leverage on it and engage one another,” CEO Fatou Mbenga Jallow said.

“This also goes to show that our Embassy in Malaysia is very active, working closely with the Malaysian embassy in Dakar in facilitating this mission, led by the Malaysian ambassador for The Gambia based in Senegal.

“Having the delegation here is a demonstration of the good relations we have between the governments of The Gambia and Malaysia.”

Mrs Jallow also said positive result is expected out of the B2B meetings and other activities held during the forum.

“We are optimistic. The Gambia government is an enabler really ensuring that there is a conducive environment, and that the necessary relationships are built at the bilateral and the multilateral level,” she said.

“It is now for the private sector to leverage on that and be able to network and build the relationships that are required with international businesses.

“GIEPA and the Chamber of Commerce are here to facilitate that process. What we are looking at is an initial engagement.”

In his remarks on the outcome of the meeting, a lead member of the Malaysian delegation, Seow Cheng Soon, managing director of  a construction firm called Probase Manufacturing SDN BHD, and founder president of a Malaysian business organization called BOSS CLUB, said he is highly optimistic of a positive outcome in business relations between The Gambia and Malaysia.

“I can see a lot of prospects in joining together in business between Malaysian and Gambian business people, in various sectors such as technology, construction related services, Halal foods, beverages and dairy products.

“There are more prospects especially that The Gambia is very peaceful,” added Mr Soon.

GCCI vice president Baboucarr Khan in his closing remarks thanked all the business representatives from both Malaysia and The Gambia.

“Be assured of our support and dedication to promoting your business efforts,” he said.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between GCCI and the Malaysian-African Professionals & Entrepreneurs (MAPE) was signed to cement the relations between the private sectors of two countries.

MAPE, very instrumental in realizing the business mission to The Gambia, is geared towards helping Malaysian entrepreneurs through their African partners to build successful and mutually rewarding business partnerships.

“We strongly believe that MAPE will provide GCCI the platform to link up Gambian and Malaysian entrepreneurs,” Gambia’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Abubacarr Jah, said, adding: “As a result, we strongly recommend that GCCI and MAPE sign the proposed MoU.”