By Sailu Bah & Rohey Jadama
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GEIPA) launched a new project called EMPRETEC, on Monday 8th September 2014, at the Kairaba beach hotel.
The EMPRETE Gambia project is aimed at creating the enabling environment for entrepreneurship and MSMEs to flourish in the Gambia culminating in the achievement of the broad national objectives of inclusive growth, poverty reduction, increased employment and competitiveness. The project will run from 2014 to 2017.
In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the occasion, Permanent Secretary MOTIE, said the project came through the Vice president of the republic of the Gambia Madam Isatou Njie Saidy during her visit to Ethiopia in June 2013. She said EMPRETEC has so many trainings in which 75% are for substantial development and this, she said, would create a platform for advocacy for stakeholders.
Mrs. Fatou Mbenga Jallow, CEO GIEPA said they gathered to witness yet another milestone, as the private sector is key in eradicating poverty, and added that the private sector contributes 61% to the GDP of the Gambia.
“Over the years a number of projects have been launched, lessons were learned and we can only improve by changing our mindset and develop our entrepreneurship,” she noted.
Madam Jallow said the project has been launched in 35 countries in Africa and Gambia is the 36th country to be installed. She further said that this model initiative has approached women, youth, retired active civil servants and rural farmers and provide them with entrepreneurial skills training and a comprehensive, systematic and integrated range of business development services in the Gambia.
Nana Tweneboa Boateng, CEO EMPRETEC Ghana foundation in his statement said, the project is here to work towards vision 2020 in creating employment opportunities to women and young people.
“The project seeks to increase the economy of the women and if women are empowered, then our children’s lives will improve as well as the economy of the country,” explained Madam Boateng.
He concluded by saying that EMPRETEC aims to see growth and development in the business of the participants.
Mr. Fiorina Mugione, Chief Division on Investment Enterprise, UNCTAD, revealed that UNDP, MOTIE, MoFEA will be coordinating the project to see the work done by GIEPA.
“Entrepreneurship development is very crucial in eradicating extreme poverty and EMPRETEC was born in Latin America and has trained lots of people in Entrepreneurship,” he revealed.
Izumi MorataAlakija, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, in her remarks, said today is a historic event after so many months of research. Madam Alakija added that Entrepreneurship is key in the development of the Economy of a country and the project launched today will help to promote and create employment for the citizens of the Gambia.
Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Hon. Abdou Jobe, in his opening statement, said the EMPRETEC project was launched in June 2014 by the then Minister. He thanked the UNDP for their unflinching support to his ministry.
“As a government, we have the moral obligation to support the women entrepreneurs. Is a belief that there is a skill of entrepreneurship in every woman and thus nurturing it is a worthy cause,” he opined.
He said that the overall project is 2.4 Million dollars and the UNDP gave out 2 Million dollars. He assured that he would take full responsibility and make sure the project is implemented successfully. Mr.Ebou Waggeh, a grandaunt from the first EMPRETEC- Gambia training said that he along with 38 other entrepreneurs have attended the capacity building training organized by EMPRETEC-Gambia.
“After being contracted for 72 hours, we are now successful entrepreneurs. As part of the training we have to create new businesses different from what we have been doing before,” he advised.
Mrs. Fatou Gaye, another grandaunt from the first EMPRETEC- Gambia training, said the EMPRETEC has empowered 40% of women, youth and rural farmers and advised that participants should try and take ownership of the project that is geared towards performing better.
Mr. AbdoulieTouray, Chairman of the Project Steering committee gave the closing remarks.