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Trade fair offers many opportunities, says GCCI CEO

Mar 20, 2015, 11:21 AM | Article By: Osman Kargbo

The Chief Executive Officer of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has called on the general public to seize the opportunities offered by the Trade Fair Gambia International (TFG 2015), which is under way at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.

CEO Alieu Secka said in an interview with The Point: “I can confirm that several companies have got discounts in their offering.”

The following is an excerpt of the interview:

So far how are things faring at the trade fair?

So far we have been very pleased with the turnout of the public to the Trade Fair Gambia International, especially over the weekend, when it was very buoyant.You would see masses of people coming in to buy goods, as well as enquire about services. They are also going to enjoy the ambiance and the fellowship that the trade fair offers.

We are also very pleased that this year we have a wide range of vendors from all over the world, including from our traditional partners in the sub-region, as well as all the way from India, Dubai, Malaysia and other countries. So we are very pleased so far with what has happened.

What are some of the special features of TFG 2015?

There are a number of items that I would like to bring on focus: one is the emphasis on sustaining and supporting enterprises. Our theme goes for Supporting Sustainable Enterprises. There are good reasons for this, such as the fact that The Gambia is celebrating its 50th independence anniversary. It is so apt that in the face of challenges of economic crises - not only in The Gambia, but all over the region and the world - the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) wants to support the business community to sustain their businesses to create employment, pay tax and develop brand creation.

There is also the issue of Vision 2016 and agribusinesses. We are seeing an increased support to the small and medium enterprises through the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment, which is supporting several businesses in this area. There is also the GICAP project, which is also supporting micro and small businesses in agriculture.

These are important efforts, because if we are to achieve Vision 2016 all these micro and small businesses, as well as medium to large businesses, have to be seen to be investing in agribusinesses so that we can eventually eat what we growand hopefully reduce the imports of goods and services.

The third one is also the increased international flavour of the fair. We have a lot more people coming in from all over the world, and that is worthy of celebration. When we started a few years ago we had 88 stalls and now we have over 270 stalls, which shows that the trade fair has become quite a successful event in the calendar of the businesses all over the world. Of course, we would continue to learn and improve on our experiences so that every year we do it better and better.

Anything new or exciting you would like say about TFG 2015?

Trade Fair Gambia International 2015 still has several days to go. In order to incentivize the public, the vendours have introduced discounts, and I can confirm that several of the electronics, as well as the vehicle marketing companies have got discounts in their offering. So we are calling on the public to go and seize this opportunity, because it does not come every day.

Secondly, we have entertainment almost every night from now on toward the end.We would like to welcome the public so that they come and see the goods and services, and also meet their friends and colleagues, socialize as well as take the opportunity to get out and do something to interact with each other.

The third point is actually to say, every time we go to these fairs, we are actually supporting some businesses, whether it is micros, medium or the small enterprises; because when we buy their local produce we are supporting and directly giving livelihood to these women and the small and budding enterprises coming up. So we are calling on the public to come and support that.

What’s the trend of the fair this time around, as regards sales and comments from people?

The trend is that the numbers have been good, but you know that the vendors and the sellers would always expect to have many people come because they want to use it as an opportunity not only to display and bring brand awareness, but also to sell their wares.

So far, it has been good, but we are hoping that the weekend will bring even bigger numbers, like last week when we had a huge attendance by the public. But also the fact is that the trade fair should be seen as not only to sell goods and services, but also to create brand awareness; that is the key objective of a trade fair and, of course, the sale of the goods and services. So we are very pleased in that regard.

The vendors would always request that they would like to see more people come there. So I would like to take the opportunity to urge the public to come and see all the special offers and wide variety of goods and services available, so that we can choose, as well as be aware of the goods and services we have.