By Kebba Jeffang
A delegation from the Dutch Gambian Business Link (DGBL) led by Marc Van Maldegem, General Manager of Kombo Beach Hotel, and Madam Hamriatte Sonko, the Netherlands Consul in Banjul, met with President-Elect Adama Barrow to show their support for democracy in The Gambia.
President-Elect Adama Barrow expressed gratitude to the guests for paying courtesy call on him as the president-elect of the Gambia. He assured that the Gambia’s relationship with the international community including the Netherlands will be strengthened and mutual as partnership can yield quick development.
According to Barrow, he will use his expertise as a business person to create the conducive environment for both local and international businesses and investors to ensure rapid development in the Gambia.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation yesterday, on Thursday, January 05, 2017, Mr. Van Maldegem said their mission is also to congratulate the president-elect of the Gambia on his victory.
He said the Dutch Gambian Business Link (DGBL) was established in 2008 with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Dakar to improve the relationship between Dutch business entrepreneurs, managers and the Gambian business community.
He went on to say that DGBL also seeks to promote collaboration between the Dutch business community and the Government of The Gambia.
“We have an extensive membership of over 20 members representing a multitude of small and medium enterprises (SME) and organisations in various sectors like tourism, renewable energy, medical services, hospitality, agriculture, in – and export, and many of us have been living and working in Gambia for more than 10 years,” said Mr. Van Maldegem.
He said within their membership they have a wide range of expert skills with which they can contribute a variety of unique products and services to the Gambian economy.
“The Embassy is represented within the DGBL by the Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of The Netherlands to The Gambia, who is also present here today. The membership is extended to the Dutch speaking nationals of the Benelux and to Gambians who are Dutch speaking and work at or own a business with a strong relationship with The Netherlands,” he added
He said their members provide employment for close to 1000 Gambians and they are in the Gambia because they like the place.
The Kombo Beach General Manager added that “we are law abiding and try to contribute and be part of Gambian society. Although we might not be the biggest group in the Gambian economy, we have contributed over the years to the development of the economies of both The Gambia and The Netherlands. We (Dutch) are known to be direct, to the point, multi-cultural, hard workers and we know how to adapt to new situations. A coalition on the political field is the norm for us, this is how it is has always been done in The Netherlands.”
He said they are looking up to the new administration with much anticipation to improve the environment for new and existing businesses and investors to contribute to the growth of Gambian economy and as such contribute in creating employment.
“We would also ask that the procedures and terms for renewing licenses be reviewed as now every year in January the entire business community has to go through this process overloading the agencies responsible for this and creating long waiting times. As you are aware, time is money and we Dutch people don’t like to waste time,” he said.
He concluded by assuring that the DGBL and its members are ready to work with and support the new administration and hope to creating better relationship between The Gambia and The Kingdom of The Netherlands.