By MUHAMMED SAILU BAH
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is planning to host two trade fairs this year as announced yesterday, 25 August, 2015 at a briefing held by its officials at their head office in Bijilo.According to the officials, the first will be the Tobaski Trade Fair taking place at the Gambia Mall in Bakoteh from the 15 – 22 September and to be followed by the 9th Edition of the GCCI International Trade Fair which will be held at the Independence Stadium from 19 December 2015 –10 January 2016. The theme for this international trade fair is ‘Supporting Sustainable Enterprises: the Gambia @ 50’.
In her opening remarks, Madam Beatrice Mboge, the chairperson of the session who is also the GCCI Director of Corporate Services, said the objective of the Tobaski Fair, to be organised in collaboration with the Gambia Mall, is to create an opportunity for the GCCI members to be able to promote their businesses and build more connections with partners.
“We are expecting to see everything in this Fair, as well as necessary things that people will need for the Tobaski feast,” she said.
The GCCI Director of Corporate Services said they will be having the two fairs this year because of popular demand as they initially wanted to have the international event by next year but their members requested for it to be held earlier.
“When we told people that the trade fair will be held next year, they said it is too far so therefore we considered their demands and brought it nearer,” said Madam Mboge.
She added that through consultation with their members, it was agreed that moving it from March to December makes is better for businesses as this period is a festive and holiday season as well as the peak of the tourists’ season.
Madam Mboge noted that GCCI will be working closely with the media to promote the two trade fairs.
Mr. Lansana Ceesay, Administrative Manager Mall of the Gambia, said they have 108 shops which are standardly built and that their aim is to promote business in the Gambia. He said it is in this vein that they have decided to collaborate with the GCCI to hold this Tobaski Fair.
Baboucarr Saho, Senior Business Development Officer at GCCI, disclosed that 50 stalls will be allocated to their members who are interested in buying a stall for the Tobaski sales.
Mr. Saho urged their members to contact the GCCI to be able to get stalls on time.
“One of our core responsibilities at GCCI is to showcase Gambian businesses, products and services and encourage business entrepreneurship, among many other businesses,” he said.
Mr. Saho also called on the general public to come forward and patronise both the GCCI and Mall Gambia during this trade fair which will be launched one week before the Tobaski feast.
Mr. Alieu Secka, Chief Executive officer GCCI, said they are very delighted to have feedbacks from their members after the last trade fair.
“The board and management of the GCCI are working on the new trade fair site at Brusubi in which there is some progress with the building of the Business and Information Centre. So we hope and pray that by December 2016, we will enact our international trade fair there,” revealed Mr. Secka.
The GCCI CEO further thanked their business partners. He said the trade fair is not only to make sales but specifically to promote and enhance businesses as well as expose them to the business community so that the public will get to know what products and services are available from a particular business.
For his part, Mr. Bai Ibrahima Jobe, Coordinator of the Enhance Integrated Framework (EIF) program under the Ministry of Trade, emphasised the importance of partnership in promoting businesses.
He also assured the commitment of his office towards collaborating with the GCCI in promoting businesses in the Gambia.
In his launching statement, Mr. Fady Hocheimy, Chairman of the GCCI Trade Fair Committee, said his history with the Trade Fair started in 2003 as a participant from the LG Electronics settings.
He said he has been participating in the trade fair for 12 years now.
Mr Hocheimy said the trade fair helps the business sector to develop and that the society, in addition, has a lot of socio economic benefits in it.
He emphasised the importance of becoming a member of the GCCI, adding that the membership fee is now reduced.
The trade fair committee chairperspn also urged businesses to register early.
He noted the registration fees for the stalls are D10, 000 for members and D12, 000 for non-members.
Mr. Hocheimy concluded that the trade fair will go for three weeks but that based on the high popular demand they may extent it.
By MUHAMMED SAILU BAH