Mam Cherno Jallow, Chief Executive Officer of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce (FWCC).
This development follows a meeting in Accra, Ghana, in December 2009 where Jallow and a host of others were interviewed, and he was later given the position.
The federation, which consists of 16 Chambers of Commerce, existed in the 70s but due to instability in the sub-region and the economic problems that most of the countries faced, it was not much functional. Its main objective, among others, is to boost regional integration.
Mr. Jallow, a seasoned economist who holds a Bachelors degree in Economics, has a wide range of experience in private sector affairs.
He described his appointment, in an interview with our reporter yesterday, as a challenging one that requires coordinating the affairs of Chambers of Commerce in the 15 member countries.
According to him, ECOWAS have seen the need to push forward the agenda of regional integration.
"They are trying to get the private sector in the region to spearhead the regional integration process, because it would definitely be led by businesses. That is why ECOWAS has seen the need to bring back this federation to re-organise the regional private sector, and also to boost regional integration," Jallow said.
The main objective of the federation, Mr. Jallow further stated, is to better organise the regional private sector.
"The private sector in the sub-region doesn't seem to have much voice because they are not better organised. So the objective of the federation is to help re-organise the regional private sector to better the track record among themselves in terms of cross border trade, investment.
"In general, the objective is to ensure that all the protocols in terms of free movement of goods and people, and many others, are implemented. Because looking around the world, even the rich countries are trying to come together to form bigger markets," he said, adding that all the protocols have been signed, and what is left is the implementation.
"We as the private sector should go back and look at the protocols, know where the stumbling-blocks are; but in doing that, we have to work with national governments and the ECOWAS commission," he added.
For Mr. Jallow, there is no reason why the West African sub-region cannot come together to make ECOWAS one common market where all the countries can benefit.
The agenda for regional integration, he further stated, has not much integrated the private sector, and now it is time for the private sector to come on board.
He commended President Yahya Jammeh, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry for their support over the years.Meanwhile, Mr. Jallow whose appointment has no specified term limit, is due to leave Banjul later this month to start work at the FWCC office in Abuja, Nigeria.