By Sailu Bah
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Saturday, 29 November, 2014 commenced the 4th Edition of the ‘Marche Jula’ Trade Fair for Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) at the July 22nd Square in Banjul.
The theme for this year’s fair, according to organizers, is “Unlocking the potential of SMEs through partnership.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Muhammed Jagana, president of GCCI, said Marche Jula seeks to promote the SMEs and that they are excited to be in Banjul.
He added that GCCI is a facilitator for businesses of both their members and non members, adding that this is part of the services they extend to their membership both small and large.
Commenting on importance of the theme, Mr. Jagana said they are trying to get the local businesses to partner with regional ones and that they have participants coming from Ziguinchor in neighbouring Senegal. He expressed hope that they can collaborate with local Gambian businesses to exchange ideas, networks and also developed their market.
He said as this is the fourth edition and they are learning more and improving better and hoped that businesses this year will step up the challenge of expanding not only in the Gambia, but around the region as well.
Modou Lamin Ceesay Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, said the theme of the Fair is in line with Government efforts toward creating employment, income generation and poverty alleviation. He said the Government is cognizant of the problems faced by medium size enterprises and are trying to address the challenges.
Mr. Ceesay said a public and private partnership had been establish at the ministry of Finance and through which the Government will be engaging businesses for mutual partnerships and collaborations. He said Government will continue to formulate and adopt policies that are geared towards the business environment. He commended the Banjul City Council (BCC) and GCCI for the initiative and urged people to visit the Fair and patronise the businesses.
Aji Awa Sillah Njie, the Deputy Mayor of Banjul, for her part, said they are pleased to be the host of the 4th Marche Jula and are excited to partner with GCCI. She said Banjul has always been and continues to be a center for trade and commerce in the Gambia. She said it is therefore timely for them to embark on this initiative with GCCI to promote trade.