Nov 24, 2008, 5:42 AM
The second edition of Marche Jula (trade fair) is undercway in Brikama in the West Coast Region. The trade fair is being organized by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in collaboration with National Youth Council and National Enterprise Development Initiative.
The event was supported by the Social Development Fund and held at the SSP Football Field in the outskirts of Brikama just before Bottrop Senior Secondary School.
At the official opening on Tuesday, Governor Lamin Sanneh of West Coast Region, said the theme for this year is: “Promoting Sustainable Youth Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment.”
According to him, the trade fair theme is quite fitting considering the fact that the youths form the cream of the society, and a lot of them fall under the unemployment cadre.
According to Sanneh, youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges that affects the African continent, and The Gambia is not an exception.
However, he stressed that fortunately for The Gambia, there exists a youth policy formulated by the government.
“The policy is geared towards empowering youths, to create employment opportunities, expose their talents, skills, among others,” he said.
Sanneh said the concept of marche jula is not a new phenomenon in the country, looking at what GCCI has been doing for the past years.
He recalled that a trade fair of this nature was organized by GCCI in the Kanifing Municipality.
Mrs Sarata Konateh, manager of business development at the GCCI, said the GCCI decided to listen, interact and think together with young men and women to solicit their ideas and organize this 2nd edition of this mini trade fair called Marche Jula.
“We do not intend this to be a one-off affair, but through social dialogue we will continue reaching out to youths in our dual role as a business organization, and as the government recognized employers association,” she added.
“As an institution, we intend to create linkages and connect young men and women to meaningful business development opportunities, that would result in viable enterprises that can eventually evolve into successful partnership ventures. Subsequently, sustainable enterprises would create employment”, she added.
According to her, the objectives of the trade fair are to expose youth enterprises, promote self-employment, showcase innovations in science and technology, display available skills, promote micro, small and medium entreprises (MSMEs), facilitate affordable prices on general commodities for Gambians, increase sales for youth enterprises and MSMEs, among others.
Sulayman M Joof a board member of GCCI opined that young people represent the promise of changing the society for the better.
He explained that the Marche Jula initiative seeks to promote employment, and enable young people to showcase their entrepreneurial ability to the general public.
He also noted that the year 2012 has been declared the year of science, technology and innovation by President Yahya Jammeh, which among other things is expected to showcase talents and skills of young people in these sectors.
Marcel Mendy of the NYC expressed hope that every young person will endeavour to make use of the opportunity, while also commending the GCCI for the continued collaboration with stakeholders.
The coordinator of NEDI, Landing B. Sanneh, said the primary task of the NEDI is to promote enterprise development through young people and women, adding that the Marche Jula initiative will help complement the efforts of NEDI.