May 11, 2009, 5:13 AM
A two-day entrepreneurship policy meeting organised by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE), in partnership with the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, commenced yesterday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
The meeting is being held to evaluate the entrepreneurship policy of The Gambia, to accelerate the completion and updating of the country’s National Entrepreneurship Promotion Strategy 2014-2018.
The two-day convergence is expected to expose the participants to four thematic areas, such as a presentation on improving access to finance, enhancing entrepreneurship education and skills development, facilitating technology and exchange of innovation, as well as a presentation on promoting awareness and networking and validation.
In her remarks, Sarata Conateh, Business Development Director at the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), said the event could not have been held at a better time, given the growing relevance of entrepreneurship, and the global consensus on the significant role entrepreneurs play in nation-building and economic development.
At the national level, she said, the national development plan – the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) - and the Vision 2020 have clearly spelt out the increasing importance of investment and job creation through the private sector.
The conclave was also meaningful for the establishment of a policy framework that is conducive, facilitation of access to finance for enterprise development, and development of skills for private investment in order to ensure an equitable and sustainable economic growth in The Gambia, she went on.
“There is presently a global consensus on the need to harness private sector finance, to fund development. As a nation, we should levy fewer taxes on businesses and together, direct our energy on fostering entrepreneurship and creating a dynamic market that generates jobs and innovation, and promote private sector development.”
This, she continued, would ensure businesses are empowered to become strategic partners as they strive towards an inclusive economic development in The Gambia.
She added that the forum would create an opportunity for the participants to share experiences and best practices.
The participants should endeavour to come up with suggestions to address some of the key challenges and constraints encountered in entrepreneurship development in The Gambia.
In addition, she said, they should also endeavour to develop a results-based monitoring and evaluation framework, using specific standardised indicators to measure progress and performance.
She called for a constructive dialogue between the public and the private sector, to ensure successful implementation and utilisation of the entrepreneurship policy being developed.
Ms Conateh thanked the Ministry of Trade and GIEPA for the progress they have registered in finalising the entrepreneurship policy in the country.
Ms Fiorina Mugione, Chief Entrepreneurship Section of UNCTAD, thanked their partners, GIEPA and MOTIE, for organising such a meeting in The Gambia.