#Article (Archive)

US-Gambia Trade Business Forum Held

Nov 18, 2009, 1:02 PM | Article By: Sainey MK Marenah

The American Embassy in Banjul, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment yesterday opened a two-day forum dubbed "Doing Business with the US." 

The forum that attracted a good number of business community in The Gambia, is geared towards discussing ways to promote trade and investment between The Gambia and the US, increase opportunities, entrepreneurial empowerment, and to provide platform for dialogue and networking under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

In his opening remarks, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Employment, Yusupha Kah said that the US Embassy have consistently tried to complement the efforts of government in enhancing the capacity of the private sector, particularly the SMEs and sharing valuable information with them in a bid to raise awareness on the market access opportunities in the US.

He added that the forum would bridge an important information gap and instil more confidence in the private sector, who regularly export to the US.

"This will go a long way in demonstrating that accessing the US market is an ever-elusive dream but can be a reality," he said.

He said the US market is huge, with endless list of goods and services that could be exported.

"It is disheartening to note that US trade with the sub- Saharan Africa is still very minimal and overly dominated by petroleum products," he remarked.

The US Ambassador to The Gambia, Barry L. Well, reiterated that the forum is for the benefit of The Gambia.

"This forum is not just about increasing trade to benefit US interest. That is why we have both the FCS here (which promote imports from the US) here and the WATH (which promotes export to the US)."

"This is also an opportunity to strengthen commercial ties between our two countries. Currently, The Gambia's import and export to the US are small and even non- existent in that 5 areas that may offer potential. We want to begin to change that through this forum by offering an opportunity to engage at a greater level," he said.

He said during the forum they will hear about AGOA Act which has been one of the cornerstones of the US strategy to jump-start Africa's economic development and encourage pro-growth policies.

 "Africa remains among the most economically vulnerable continent in the world and the current economic crises threaten to reverse economic gains. Now more than ever, the US must help Africa partners raise per capita income levels, promote broad-based, sustainable growth, and improve their business environment; and we are doing so through programmes, such as AGOA," he concluded.