The initiative directly supports the private sector to create jobs and generate income for young Gambians. It is supported by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa through the Youth Empowerment Project implemented by the International Trade Centre under the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment.
Handing over the machines held at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, EU Ambassador to The Gambia, Attila Lajos said micro, small and medium-sized enterprises constitute the backbone of Gambia’s economy, accounting for the majority of employment and drives growth and innovation.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has created serious challenges for the entire business community and the economic crisis has hit small companies very hard,” he stated.
He further said that wholesale and retail accounts for a third of Gambia’s economy, noting that the transport and storage sub-sector directly contribute 3.6 percent of the GDP in 2018.
Mr. Lajos said it is therefore important for Gambia government and its development partners to support small businesses including the transport sector.
He remarked that private sector development must be at the heart of crisis response as well as the recovery strategy, saying it will not just help to preserve jobs in the economy but will also help in getting out of the crisis more resilient and stronger.
Lamin Jobe, minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment said the equipment will improve the capacities of young business entrepreneurs to facilitate the distribution of products and essential goods.
He added that the support is in line with his Ministry’s policy of promoting trade and industrial development in key sectors of the economy to spur the needed growth sufficient to impact on unemployment and poverty in the short and medium term.
Minister Jobe encouraged beneficiaries to make good use of the equipment to support their operations and to take advantage of the trade and investment opportunities in the country.
He thanked the European Union for the continued support it is providing to Gambia in many areas.
Yusupha Keita, YEP representative said more than 55 percent of all businesses have been strongly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that small businesses have been hit particularly hard due to disruption in production, supply chain, transport and logistics, and domestic trade.