By Fatoumatta K Jallow
The 3rd TAF Annual Conference and Networking event, was held from the 27th to 28th December 2017, and the event brought together stakeholders and groups including Government, Civil society and the Private Sector.
TAF Africa Global hosted the networking event as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. The theme for this year’s event is “Challenges and Opportunities in the New Gambia: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective.
Mustapha Njie, CEO of TAF Africa Global said the new Gambia presents a major opportunity for accelerated national development which should have entrepreneurship as an important cornerstone; that it is against this backdrop that the networking event was organized to support Government in its endeavors and to use the opportunity for TAF Africa Global to re-emerge as the leading real estate developer of the nation.
He said the annual event will create an environment where different industries and organizations like real estates, finance, hospitality, government, youth groups, NGO’s, and community activists, can come together to share information and exchange ideas on how to move the country forward. In this regard, Mr. Njie said dynamic leaders from diverse backgrounds were invited to give motivational speeches on selected topics/themes with the goal to inspire attendees and provoke innovative thoughts and ideas; that they gave platform to the youth, the physically disabled, and the forgotten / disenfranchised members of our society, to engage them by giving them a voice and a hand to play a role in the New Gambia; that in addition, the new projects TAF Africa Global will be launching over the next year’s, will serve as a soft launch of the TAF Africa Global foundation including its goals and objectives.
The event he said, will inspire the Gambian youth so that they can be motivated to bring about change in the New Gambia and be the leaders for the future; that there is need for creating the enabling environment for effective youth participation in entrepreneurship because the youth would like to play a key role in national development.
The President of the Republic, Adama Barrow, said the event was special in many ways given that it was taking place under a democratic governance in the New Gambia, where we now have an environment which is backed by the rule of law as a great incentive for potential investors; that following 22 years of mismanagement by the former regime, the country is now faced with huge challenges as well as great opportunities for foreign direct investments; that this is in line with the theme of the event. The President called on Gambians in the Diaspora to come home and explore the possibilities of investing in the New Gambia; that the forum is very encouraging with an impressive turn out of Gambians and stakeholders from different sectors.
“It shows the desire and the commitment of all of you to fully participate in the development of this great nation we all called home,’’ he said. President Barrow said the country’s blue print which is the National Development Plan 2018/2021 has been validated and the plan is to deliver good governance, accountability, social provision, national reconciliation and a revitalize economy, to ensure the wellbeing of all Gambians; that to realize these goals, Gambians and development partners have to join efforts to ensure that the successful implementation of the plan is realised.
“It is an opportunity to empower young people and create awareness on the possibilities of financing themselves and create jobs in addressing the ‘back way’ syndrome. I commend you for this initiative because the objective of my administration in national development is to live no one behind. We all have a stake in the development of this nation”, Barrow said.
“Most of you have achieved a lot in your lives and I am greatly encouraged by your presents here today which is a show of commitment on the desire to contribute to the national development of the country’’, he concluded.
Ndey Isatou Njie, retired UN official said it is exciting to see different generations represented bringing with them unique and most appropriate contributions.
Dr. Karamo Sonko, President at Jula Consultancy FZE in Sharjah United Arab Emirates, expressed his fears in the personality cult we create to build institutions; that young people will drink “Ataya” than work.
“I fear the private sector becoming a liability than an asset. We should not allow tribalism to rear its ugly head in our country. We are one Gambia,’’ he said.