“Small/Medium Enterprises form more than 60% of urban labour force”

By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Abdou Jobe, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration andMinister of trade, Mr Abdou Jobe
Employment, has said that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
(MSME) in the Gambia form more than 60% of the urban labour force and
account for more than 20% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).The Trade Minister said this at the launch of the ‘Trade Fair Gambia
International’ organized by Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(GCCI) on Saturday 7th March, 2015 at the Independence Stadium in
Bakau.
“TFGI Enterprises as the principal source of growth and employment
cannot be overstated. According to the international trade center,
MSMEs are the biggest source of untapped growth potential and by 2030
will be generating the bulk of close to 470 million new jobs that will
be required by employment,” said Minister Jobe.
He said it is in this regard that his ministry prioritizes the
promotion of MSMEs in their development agenda considering the
importance and impact the sector has on the livelihoods of the
majority of Gambians. He said the success of MSMEs is fundamental to
the future of the Gambian economy, adding that across Africa, MSMEs
have always been the main drivers of innovation, job creation and
growth.
The Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment Minister said
this year’s theme “Supporting Sustainable Enterprises: the Gambia @50”
emphasizes the need for all players along the value chain of work
together to achieve notable economic growth which would trickle down
to every Gambian.
He said for a long time the Gambia has been producing and exporting
raw materials with very little focus on value addition which,
according to him, is a major step towards commercializing the
agricultural sector as they work towards achieving vision 2016. He
said this is the best path that the Gambia can be transformed from a
net importing nation to a self-sufficient exporting one.
Minister Jobe said the EMPRETEC project aims to bring about a
transformational change in unleashing the growth potential of micro
and small scale enterprises by 2017 through entrepreneurial skills
training and provision of a comprehensive range of business advisory
services.
“To support Sustainable enterprises, my ministry has developed National
Trade Policy, National Export Strategy, National MSME policy
2014-2018, a national Entrepreneurship Strategy, a National Business
Plan Competition, a feasibility study on MSME clustering and also a
MSME database for networking and marketing purposes among other
programs being run under my ministry,” said Minister Jobe.
He welcomes the international participants for having traveled from
afar to participate in this year’s trade fair and commended all of the
participating MSMEs and institutions, adding that their presence
demonstrates their commitment to the business and to the wider
prosperity sector.
He also applauded the GCCI for organizing yet another trade fair and
for their untiring efforts in showcasing the Gambia and facilitating
partnership between the public and private sector.
For his part, the Vice President of Gambia Chamber of Commerce and
industry (GCCI), Mr. Papa Yusupha Njie, speaking on behalf of the GCCI
President, said this year’s trade fair should be seen as an
opportunity to display and market innovations in order to expand
customer base, attract favorable financial opportunities and be
exposed to individuals that could possibly be employed as new
qualified staff for businesses and enterprises.
“GCCI will continue to call for integrated approach to promote
and support local enterprises in a sustainable and viable manner. We
also continue to serve as the voice of the private sector and as such
the chamber will continue to voice out new challenges that the Gambian
business community continues to face,” said the GCCI Vice President.
Mr. Njie said GCCI will continue to provide essential business
services to all enterprises, particularly the MSMEs who constitute
over 80% of exhibitors for this year’s fair.