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Seminar on Ways of Tapping the ECOWAS Market Held

Mar 13, 2009, 5:49 AM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in collaboration with ECOWAS and ECOBANK, the Pan African Bank yesterday organised a one-day seminar on Tapping the ECOWAS Market.

The seminar, which amongst others aims to create awareness on various ECOWAS Protocols that are intended to increase trade flows in the sub-region and to prepare the private sector to take full advantage of such protocols.

Held at the Jerma Beach Hotel, the forum covering topics mainly the ECOWAS Business Directory, the ECOWAS External Tariff and the ISRT, brought together stakeholders in the country's business sector more importantly those in the banking industry.

In his opening remarks, Bai Matarr Drammeh, President of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry underscored the importance, his office attaches to the promotion of free trade within the sub-region.

"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 regional integration", he said.

According to Mr Drammeh, the seminar organised by the Chamber in collaboration with ECOWAS and ECOBANK, their partners for this activity, is in realization of this noble objective.

For his part, Fitzerald Odonkor, Managing Director, ECOBANK Gambia said the initiative by his bank to partner and serve as sponsor to the seminar is not only because they are members of the GCCI or a mere show of their financial prowess but it is also part of their responsibility to champion regional trade integration in the sub-region and beyond.

According to the ECOBANK boss, many a times, great African people have echoed the conspicuous need to see a united Africa through speeches. This, however, Mr Odonkor disagrees with, noting that questions of how Africa can integrate into a coherent regional bloc can only be answered through the fostering of trade and economic ties supported by well-defined protocols.

Also speaking earlier, Mr Adama Touray from ECOWAS expressed ECOWAS readiness in the promotion of regional trade. The seminar was chaired by Mr Mam Cherno Jallow, Chief Executive Officer at the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.