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Trade Fair 2017 Kick-starts Saturday

Apr 13, 2017, 11:32 AM | Article By: Ousman Kargbo

The Gambia Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Employers’ Association (GCCI) is set to commence the 2017 Trade Fair Gambia International (TFGI) on 15 April 2017 at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.

While the official opening ceremony of the fair takes place on Tuesday 18 April 2017, exhibitors of various products and services from companies, firms, small and medium-scale enterprises, farmers, producers, suppliers and dealers from various industries in the country and beyond will start to showcase their products and services at the Independence Stadium on Saturday.

“We are set and ready and we will start the trade fair on Saturday 15 April; so all are welcome to go to the stadium. And the official opening ceremony will take place on Tuesday 18 April 2017,” said GCCI director of Corporate Services Beatrice Mboge, at a press briefing held yesterday at GCCI head office in Bijilo.

The Chamber has already recorded well over 200 exhibitors and still counting.

While its previous numbers of exhibitors range from 200 to 250 participants, the number this year is expected to go well over 250.

“We are receiving and expecting more local and international exhibitors to this year’s trade fair, especially from Senegal, Benin, other ECOWAS  countries and nations beyond Africa,” Mrs Mboge said, adding that turnout of people to the fair in its duration (15 – 30 April) is expected to hit over the 40,000  mark recorded over the period of the last trade fair.

This year’s trade fair has attracted people from all walks of life and businesses from every sector and industry of the country, she said.

While there have been no major sponsors from the private sector players  in recent years,  the Chamber  has been working in close collaboration with various projects in the agriculture sector such as the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema).

Such projects as NEMA have been fully sponsoring participants of small-holder farmers, producers, suppliers and dealers in agricultural goods at the GCCI trade fair in the recent years.

“While we have not been getting any sponsors from the mainstay private sector in recent years to promote Trade Fair Gambia, we would like to thank projects like NEMA that have stood by us over the years sponsoring farmers and agric businesses to take part in the trade fair,” Mrs Mboge said.

The trade fair has also been incorporating chambers of commerce from other countries in the sub-region, such as Senegal.

For instance, the executive members of the Kaolack Chamber of Commerce in Senegal are in The Gambia to attend the 2017 trade fair.

“In this year’s trade fair Senegal is our guest country through which we are going to have many participants and exhibitors in the trade fair, facilitated by the Kaolack Chamber of Commerce,” Mrs Mboge explained.

The Kaolack Chamber of Commerce and GCCI have signed an MoU to promote business and investment in both countries.

In that spirit the Kaolack Chamber of Commerce executives are in The Gambia to promote the participation of their businesses in the TFG, she said.

While preparations have been completed for the fair to kick-start in earnest, more exhibitors are registering to partake in the fair, said GCCI corporate service officer Aji Sally Cham.

Sally said all businesses participating in the fair and their products and services are categorised and classified to get an orderly showcase of their products and services.

The GCCI officials said the Chamber is doing all it could to ensure there is enough water and electricity facilities at the trade fair grounds, as well as adequate and decent toilet facilities for all to get maximum benefit from the fair.

Key objectives of Trade Fair Gambia International include presenting an opportune platform for businesses and industry innovators to showcase and possibly collaborate; championing the creation of private sector jobs; promoting the exportation of ‘Made in The Gambia’ products; highlighting investment opportunities in The Gambia and networking local enterprises with business opportunities at the international level thereby increasing inter-regional trade.

The GCCI will also be commemorating its golden jubilee as the ‘Voice of Gambian business’ even as it prides itself in “connecting businesses and creating opportunities” over the past 50 years.