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Morocco explores Gambian markets

Dec 8, 2010, 11:22 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

A high-power delegation from the Kingdom of Morocco arrived in Banjul Monday for the third edition of the Moroccan Caravan.

Organised by Marco Export and hosted by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry together with the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, the third edition of the Moroccan Caravan is coming to the Gambia for the first time.

The caravan of 165 people is part of Marco Export’s strategies to build economic and trade relations between the kingdom of Morocco and other African countries.

Speaking at the opening of the third edition, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Brufut, Yusupha Kah, minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, said the bilateral relationship between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Gambia has grown stronger over the years.

According to Trade minister Kah, the leaders of the two countries have a shared vision for their people, and indeed the African continent, to achieve their development aspirations within the shortest possible timeframe.

“Trade and trade-related activities are among the most critical tools for development and integration. It is widely recognised nowadays that the fastest and most effective way for African integration to come about is through trade,” he said, adding that this Caravan could not come at a better time than now.

The Gambia, he noted, is keen to see more cooperation of this nature from other countries on the continent.

“It is unfortunate that, more often than not, our countries look beyond the neighbourhood for any trading and investment opportunities. But I strongly believe that good and even better opportunities exist on the African continent. We just need to put in a little more effort to reach out to others and look inward,” Kah added.

While challenging the private sectors of the two countries to make their long term dream of significantly improving intra-African trade a reality, Minister Kah asserted that in the last decade, the Gambia has been accelerating its search for new markets, especially in Africa.

“As you are all aware, the long-term development blueprint of the Gambia Government Vision 2020 is anchored on a private sector-led development strategy. The Government will continue to ensure that the right business environment exists in our country for our private sector to flourish,” he added.

Bai Matarr Drammeh, President of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in his speech, underscored the importance of forging stronger economic ties.

According to the GCCI President, both the Gambia and Morocco have somewhat similar investment interests as the Moroccan private sector has expressed interest in five sectors: energy, manufacturing, construction, health and telecommunications.

“Here in the Gambia, our priority areas are light manufacturing, agro-based industry and pharmaceuticals,” he stated.

He noted that one of GCCI’s major objectives is looking for innovative ways and opportunities to enhance economic development, and also guarantee success and the sustainable growth of the private sector, through the facilitation of business partnerships between foreign and Gambian businesses.