By Sailu Bah
A team of 30 public officials and investors from Turkey are visiting the Gambia for a period of four days to hold talks on investment opportunities in the country with senior government officials and private sector operators.
The Turkish delegation, headed by Mrs. Semha Oyus, a Member of Parliament from Aydin Province in Turkey, comprises the Deputy Governor of Aydin Province as well as business persons who are potential investors.
Under the auspices of the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) and coordinated by the Ministry of Trade, Regional, Integration and Employment (MOTIE), a business and investment forum was held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel on Monday, 13 February 2015.
Welcoming the Turkish delegation at the forum, Mr. Abdou Jobe, the Gambian Trade minister, underscored the importance of the visit, adding that it will help in strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries.
“Business in the Gambia has benefited greatly from the country’s unwavering macroeconomic strategy, liberal trade policies and market-based economy,” noted Minister Jobe.
He added that the Gambia has very good policies when it comes to business, and that one can register a business within a day by the ‘Single window business registration’ process.
The Trade minister recalled that a high level delegation from the Gambia had visited Turkey last year and signed agreements and bilateral ties between the two countries.
Minister Jobe also noted that it is easy to have access to both the sea port and airport for the importation and exportation of goods.
Mr. Momodou Badjie, the Gambia’s Ambassador to Turkey, for his part, expressed his pleasure to see Turkish business operators coming to the Gambia to explore business opportunities in the country.
Mr. Alieu Secka, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), said for trade to thrive between two states it has to be predicated on good bi-lateral relationship. He said both Turkey and the Gambia share many things in common which makes it much easier and better for the relationship.
The GCCI CEO said the MOUs that have been signed are expected to be actualised during next month, adding that it is their hope to see these signed agreements go beyond signing.
In his remarks, Ambassador Ergin Soner of Turkey, thanked GEIPA and the Government of the Gambia for organising the forum which he described as very important.
The Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia said the delegation which consists of people from different sectors is to enhance bonds of brotherhood, cultural and trade cooperation between the two countries.
He also reiterated the longstanding ties that exist between Turkey and Gambia, noting common cultural affinities.
“In this regard, I am proud to state that Turkish foreign policy of partnership with Africa is based on reinforcing mutual gains on equal basis and joint economic interest in bilateral relations,” said the Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia .
Madam Semha Oyus, the head of the Turkish delegation who is also a Parliamentarian, after thanking the hosts noted that they are looking forward to investing in the Gambia. She also expressed hope for a reciprocal visit to Turkey.