Feb 14, 2013, 10:47 AM
by Tiago Trigo de Menezes Leal, Honorary Consul Designate of The Gambia to
Portugal, a delegation of eight potential Portuguese investors on Sunday
arrived in The Gambia on the maiden TAP Air flight from Lisbon.
The eight-man delegation, comprising of various entrepreneurs and representatives of companies are looking forward to work and collaborate with The Gambia Government in different sectors including water resources, agriculture, construction, tourism amongst other very important sectors, key to the economic development of the Gambia.
“We are in a crucial point for both economies, Portugal wants to start working in a closer way with The Gambia. Gambia has a lot of opportunities here and I guess is a win-win situation for everyone” said Joao Mateus Rosa, CEO, Flybizz Digital Marketing agency who also doubles as spokesman of the 8-man delegation.
During their visit, the delegation met and held discussions with the Vice President of The Gambia, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Minister and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Regional integration and Employment (MOTIE), CEO of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce (GCCI), Director General, Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), the Minister of Environment and the Minister for Fisheries and Water Resources with whom they had a working session with as the water sector is a priority investment area for the visiting team.
Mr, Mateus also said that the investment possibilities in Gambia are endless, adding “we have the know-how, we have the ability to create synergies with the people here. With the knowledge that we have, that we can bring, I guess we can create good investment possibilities that can derive everything that Gambia needs, and that Portugal has to offer to investors in Gambia.”
In January of 2018, the Government of The Gambia launched its blueprint, The National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2021, which aims to revitalize and transform the economy for the well-being of all Gambians. Of the eight strategic priorities through which the vision and overall goal of the NDP will be realized, the Gambia Government is poised to make the private sector the engine of growth, transformation and job creation.
The Gambia’s Honorary Consul Designate to Portugal, currently rendering consular services to more than 1,500 Gambians living in Portugal, Tiago Trigo de Menezes Leal, whose late father has served in the same position for 20yrs, says strengthening the Gambia – Portugal bilateral relationship remains a priority for him as it was for his father who died in 2018.
Mr. Leal asserts that he believes in the Gambia’s NDP and as part of his contribution towards the attainment of the set goals of The National Development Plan 2018-2021, he plans to bring in more investors to invest in the Gambia since the Private Sector has been identified as the engine of the NDP. “What we are starting now will avail investment opportunities for both Gambian and Portuguese Investors. It will also facilitate finding markets for Gambian produce in Portugal for export,” he said.
Mr. Leal also says he is exploring the possibilities to intertwine the chamber of commerce of the Gambia and that of Portugal to further boost trade relations between the two countries.
Moses Benjamin Jallow, Gambia’s Ambassador-at-large for Trade and Investment in Africa and Asia, who together with Mr. Trigo coordinated the visit of the investors, said even though Europe doesn’t fall under his countries of accreditation, he feels it’s only fair that he lends a hand whenever and wherever, adding that he used to be Gambia’s Ambassador to France with co-current accreditations to Portugal, thus his link with the group.
Ambassador Jallow also states that the mobilization of the investors is in response to the objectives of the National Development Plan. “We are living up to the mandate of my appointment, trade and investment, this is why we are trying to identify genuine potential investors to the Gambia. This is also in response to President Adama Barrow’s vision for the Gambia and I suppose the Gambia stands to benefit a lot. The timeframe of the NDP is 3 – 4 years but I’m sure closer to the time we would have achieved the objectives of it.”
The Portugal-Gambia relation is a very historical one dating centuries ago. Trade links between the Gambia and Portugal started in 1456, when the first European traders (The Portuguese) came to The Gambia. The coming of the delegation aims to further cement the already existing trade links between the two countries. It is expected that in a couple of weeks, the delegation will return to the Gambia with Business Proposals to present to the relevant authorities for consideration.