#National News

GIEPA convenes stakeholders forum

Feb 17, 2022, 1:50 PM | Article By: Isatou Ceesay Bah & Sanna Jallow

The Department of Export Promotion and Facilitation (DEPF) of the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) on Tuesday began a two-day exporters’ stakeholder forum at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.

The forum seeks to address The Gambia's balance of trade export and to address challenges in the trade entry points. The event was held on the theme -" the implementation of the national export strategy to drive export growth national export strategy 2021/2022.

At the opening ceremony, Ousainou Senghore, chief executive officer (CEO) of GIEPA, stated that GIEPA is mandated by law to enhance the business environment, facilitate public- private dialogue, develop exports, promote and facilitate business development initiatives through consultative engagements with the private sector.

Senghore further explained that the agency is mandated to provide export advisory services for companies to attain export- readiness, assist in the establishment of linkage between G2Bs; B2Bs and B2Cs.

“It will also facilitate support in accessing market information through research to improve the Gambia's export performance and increase their foreign exchange earnings by migrating from being a net-importing to net- exporting country through international trade and industry competitiveness.”

Senghore therefore applauded the commonwealth team for their commitment, trust and support to the Gambia to enable it expand her export-base, while further soliciting for more support from them.

Opeyemi Abebe, head of Trade Competitiveness Section Commonwealth Secretariat, said the secretariat would support government to improve the economy and the lives of the people.

She revealed that the import and the export view of The Gambia and the balance of Trade are not in favour of The Gambia.

“We cannot  completely  close that gap between the import bill and the export return but what we want to see is to reduce the gap at the port that Gambian export will start to do better in the international  market, not only the goods but with the services where the tourism sector predominantly.” she said.

The tourism sector, she acknowledged, is a critical partner in any development endeavor, and that from the commonwealth perspective they want to move from just supporting member states but to develop strategies, which would be implemented with technical expertise.

For his part, Hamat Bah, Minister of Tourism and Culture,  said it is  high time for government  to work extra hard to be able to get more finance, saying businessmen and women must have access to finance as most of ‘our banks are not keen when it comes to access to finance.’

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