By MUHAMMED S. BAH
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Wednesday, 15 February, officially announced April 15th – 30th 2017 as the dates set for the 11th Edition of the International Trade Fair in the Gambia
The occasion, according to officials, will also mark the golden jubilee (50 years) of GCCI and that it will be observed in a unique form.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference, Alieu Secka, Chief Executive officer (CEO) of GCCI, underscored the importance of this trade fair, adding that it will be a unique one as Gambians are now in the new era of the ‘New Gambia’.
In his statement, Muhammed Jagana, the President of GCCI, said the Chamber will be commemorating its golden jubilee as the Voice of Gambian business and that it prides itself in connecting business and creating opportunities over the years.
According to Jagana, GCCI recognises that their success is attributed to the partnership it has built and continues to build primarily with Government and various businesses and organisations both locally and abroad over the 50 years.
“GCCI is expected to play its role in more dynamic and efficient way in this changing economic environment, through creating and seeking strategic partnerships for the benefit of the business community,” GCCI President said.
He added that high on the Chamber’s agenda for 2017 is rebuilding the Gambia economy. “Whether you are a business owner or an organization, we wish to encourage you to be open to more opportunities to create or join in partnership with GCCI as we continue to work together to build a strong economy through inclusive growth,” he said.
Mr. Jagana further said that GCCI believes in competitive and environmentally sustainable industries, adding that enterprises have a crucial role to play in accelerating economic growth, creating employment and reducing poverty in the Gambia.
‘’As we provide the necessary linkages that pitch industries and enterprise in the desired business networks, opportunities are derived and we are gradually moving into the era of “entrepreneur development” therefore, GCCI seeks to encourage job creators rather than job seekers,’’ he remarked.
He said they have started consultation with their members and the entire business community and they will continue the dialogue until they have representative.
In his launching statement, Bajara Jabbie, on behalf of the GCCI Board of Directors, who also represent the Trade Fair Committee, said the trade fair will operate from 10am to 10pm, Sundays to Thursdays, at the Independence Stadium. He said the theme for this year’s trade fair is “Connecting Businesses, creating Opportunities”.
He said trade fair presents an opportune platform for businesses and industry innovators to showcase their products and services and gain access to both domestic and international markets. With majority of export coming from the agribusiness sector, the whole value chain must be exposed and understood.
The objective of the trade fair, according to officials, is to present an opportunity platform for businesses and industry innovators to showcase and collaborate. It is also meant to champion the private sector jobs, as well as to promote ‘made in the Gambia products’ among other things.
Beatrice Mboge, Director Corporate Services, who chaired the occasion, said GCCI will explore all forms of media to ensure that the Trade fair is known to each and every Gambian and by extension get a name in the world.
The meeting which was held at their Kerr Jula office in Bijilo was attended by the GCCI board members and staff, the private sector operators and media.