By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), yesterday11th February, 2015, launched this year’s edition of its annual Trade Fair Gambia International at a press conference held at its office along the Bertil Harding Highway in Bijilo. The 8th edition, scheduled for 7 to 22 March, 2015 at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, will be organized in commemoration of The Gambia’s 50th Independence celebrations.
With the theme: “Supporting Sustainable Enterprises: The Gambia at 50”, the occasion would be a tremendous opportunity for companies and institutions to trade, showcase products and also identify business partners with international participants.
Organisers include the word ‘International’ in the name of the trade fair to distinguish it from the Marche Jula trade fair.
Officially launched by the Chairperson of the Trade Affair, Mr. Famy Hocheimy, the trade fair is expected to bringing buyers and sellers together to provide a platform for products and services brand awareness.
Speaking to journalists at the conference, the President of the GCCI, Mr. Muhammed M. Jagana, recalled that the first national trade fair was organized in2003bytheGCCI,and was considered to be a huge success for 88 local and 4 international exhibitors and that by 2014, the Trade Fair Gambia 2014 exhibitors increased to 257 with 37,700 visits from 1 to 16 March, 2014.
He said the Chamber will also be hosting its annual business awards, also known as GCCI Business Awards (GBA) in the second quarter of the year, adding that for almost 25 years now, the GBA has been conducted as an annual event and the achievements of deserving Gambian businesses acknowledged. This year, the president said there will be additional new award categories which will give our members more opportunities to register their successes in their various areas of business.
As part of’ The Gambia at 50Anniversary’, Mr. Jagana said the Chamber will publish its 2015 Business Directory to provide the required platform to promote and show case the products and services of its members and Gambian businesses in general, to a wider network of prospective clients and customers both locally and internationally.
“The Marche Jula mini-trade fair which will be held late in the year, conceived and organized by GCCI is usually held in strategically selected lower-income communities, with the primary objective of creating an affordable platform where micro and small businesses will sell their products and services, as well as gain international exposure,” he said.
President Jagana noted that the GCCI has grown and is becoming more relevant by meeting the needs of its members and the Gambian private sector in general. He added that new initiatives supporting the growth of micro and small businesses such as the ‘Japaleh Jula’ scheme which focuses on formalization of enterprises, increasing their profile and improving access to finance, are borne out of their active engagements and dialogues with members.
As part of their vision for 2015, Mr Jagana said tthe Chamber will continue to re-position itself as a Centre of Excellence by developing a highly committed organization oriented to serving the needs of its members and to providing a business platform and offer business management and development services to a wide spectrum of enterprises, specifically those led by women and youth, in order to ensure that their businesses grow to become every sustainable and responsible in the society.
In answering questions from the Press, the chairperson described last year’s Trade Fair Gambia as a great success, indicating that exhibitors from 14 countries participated from Europe, Asia and the region and over 37,000 people visited the fair. The officials clarified that the trade fair is basically meant to promote the goods and services of businesses and not necessarily to sell, defending the quotation, “Selling is marketing but marketing is not selling.”
The meeting was convened by the board members of the GCCI and members of the public and private sectors.