Interview with AMCham CEO

Know Your Public institution

With MUHAMMED SAILU BAH

Interview with AMCham CEO

Welcome to another edition of Know Your Public Institutions Column which seeks to create awareness on the nature and work of Kebba Njiepublic institutions in the Gambia. In this edition, we are featuring an
exclusive interview with Kebba Tamsir Njie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AMCham) of the Gambia on the nature and work of his institution.

Foroyaa: Mr CEO, what can you tell our readers about AMCham?

AMCham CEO: Thank you, the American Chamber of Commerce or AMCham The Gambia was formed and established in May 2010. It was setup mainly to support and encourage trade and investment between the Gambia and the United States of America, and to encourage Gambians to venture in to business in the US as well as bringing in investors from the United States in the Gambia.

The organisation is a voluntary partnership of business and professional people working together to build a healthy economy and improve the quality of life in our community by multiplying trade opportunities. It also takes the responsibility as an economic developer and planner, tourist information centre, business spokesperson, economic vitality of the community and enhanced the quality of life, promoting the nation’s private enterprise system of competitive marketing, making, make a better understanding of business and entrepreneurship to add value to investment between the Gambia and the United States.

The Chamber also aims to further improve the general welfare of the society, contribute to the overall economic stability of all segments of the community and most importantly we acknowledge the needs of our members.

We seek new business and investment opportunities, therefore our main objectives are to:

  • Help businesses prosper and grow.
  • Increase job opportunities
  • Encourage and orderly expansion and develop of all segments of community.
  • Facilitate the export and import of products between the USA and the Gambia.
  • Established partnership with US investors and Gambian entrepreneurs.
  • Promote the nation’s private enterprise system of competitive marketing promote the African growth and opportunities Act (AGOA), granting most liberal access to US markets by offering tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.

Our main vision is to advance the general welfare and prosperity of business and communities in the Gambia and the United states of America. Help business relationship prosper and grow between the Gambia and US.

AMCham recognises that there has been a weak commercial relationship between the US and the Gambia which is responsible for the less trade activities between the two countries.

We believe that the only way to put an end to these problems is to promote the development of growth-oriented market reforms based on a framework that has the following outcomes.

  • Facilitate movement of trade and factors of production.
  • Create commercial infrastructure and distribution system
  • Develop stable commercial laws and regulations
  • Create a strong network of enthusiastic and trust worthy group of entrepreneurs in both countries.

Our basic mandate is purposefully to promote business and investment in the country. To work with the communities in order to create employment and to support young entrepreneurs to encourage and trained small businesses to grow their businesses as well as to create source and contacts for businesses here.

Foroyaa: Can you tell us about the staffing structure of AMCham and its board?

AMCHAM CEO: AMCham consists of twelve elected members of board of director from their expertise, experience and interest in doing business with the U.S Embassy. Members of the board are responsible for establishing procedures and formulating policies for the Chamber.

We have representatives from all sectors of the economy in the country.

The AMCham has a management which is headed by myself, as the CEO, and I have other staff who are under me who are entrusted to carryout different responsibilities, about 6 of them. When you include the incubator project, we now have 10 members of staff.

Foroyaa: Can you tell us some of your projects that are ongoing as well as your past ones?

AMCHAM CEO: We just launched our AMChamstart up incubator project, which is a grant from the US embassy in the Gambia. It is 150,000 US Dollars project.

The project was launched last week Wednesday. It is graduating about 20 participants who have been trained in various areas.

Foroyaa: Who are your main partners?

AMCham CEO: Our main partners are Gam Petroleum, Gamcel/Gamtel, Eco Bank, Mustapha Njie (TAF), Amadou Samba ,Jah Oil and Gambega. Generally, these are the key partners of AMCham.

Foroyaa: How is your working relationship with The Gambia Chamber of Commerce?

AMCham CEO: We complement each others efforts in all our activities in promoting business to excel.

Foroyaa: What are some of your achievements?

AMCham CEO: One of the achievements we made recently made is the setting up of the incubator project to support young people to become good entrepreneurs. We also succeeded in conducting so many training programs to encourage female entrepreneurs.

Our source of income is basically our subscription and funds we get from our partners.

Foroyaa: Do you have any final words to share with our readers?

AMCham CEO: It is to encourage all to find the Chamber relevant to come and join us. You can join or register with the Chamber once your business is legally registered. There is a cost attached to it with a membership fees in three different categories.