By Amie Sanneh
In her launching statement, the Permanent Secretary, Naffie Barry, said the opening of the centre is in response to providing a better trade information services to businesses, researchers and other stakeholders. The Trade Information Service, according to the Trade PS, will enable access to key trade information ranging from business requirements, market access, trade policy and strategy for Gambian businesses, policy makers s well as foreign clients.
PS Barry added that it will also lead to the creation of a national level trade information network of relevant trade support institutions in the Gambia. “The Trade Information Network is a result of an inclusive process of cooperation among twenty organisations (including government ministries, the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and sector organisations) who have committed to create conducive framework for facilitating access to trade information through sharing, exchanging and disseminating relevant, up to date and timely information,” she said.
The Trade ministry PS said they have organised a series of capacity building trainings both locally and internationally for the network members and staff of the ministry over the last two years of the project and geared towards ensuring the effective functioning of the Trade Information Centre for the use of both the public and private sector. She noted that the completion of the Centre marks an important milestone in the implementation of the Sector Competitiveness and Export Diversification Project which is a Tier 2 Project that was approved by the EIF Board in 2012.
Martin Lopez, the Associate Trade Information Officer, International Trade Centre (ITC), said the Information Centre which is an ITC funded project will help answer most questions business operators in and outside the country may want to know about business operations in the Gambia.
The Centre’s Supervisor, Ousman Bojang, said the main objective of the centre is to source, process, organise and disseminate information for the business community, government policy makers and implementers, private sector and academia. He said they use the web portal as a major tool for dissemination which was developed by ITC through the support of one of the Information technology providers in the Gambia.
The Web Portal is w.w.w.gambiatradeinfo.org.