By Fatoumatta K Jallow
The American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AmCham), yesterday, held a day long entrepreneurship meeting for over hundred Gambian women entrepreneurs and business professional at a hotel in Kololi.
The meeting which was mainly centered on business and entrepreneurs was meant to avail delegates the opportunity to discuss relevant issues concerning their areas of business and the way forward.
AmCham is a non-political, non-profit making, self-governed, voluntary, and democratic and private sector membership organization.
The main purpose of the Chamber is to promote and facilitate trade between The Gambia and the United States of America. It also promotes Entrepreneurship development and helps start-up and businesses to grow and expand.
In her opening remarks, the acting President AmCham, Ndey Awa Ceesay said they consider it prudent to convene this meeting which provides the platform for candid and open discussions mainly on the constraints they are faced with and to create the enabling environment for their businesses.
She said this platform will give them an opportune moment to lend their voice in support of the great concerns of the day. She said they should advocate for peace and stability in due recognition of democratic process. “Because it is only through peace that business will enjoy the conducive environment,” she said.
AmCham President added that “It is our considered view that the aim of this congress will further give us the opportunity to convincingly put together genuine concerns and recommendations to the authorities in the new year as food for thought and matters which should receive the foremost attention and consideration that would lubricate the private sector engine, towards stimulating growth in the economy.
She highlighted one of the lingering concerns of AmCham which is AGOA and that since its inception, members of AmCham and non-members alike benefitted immensely from the facilities that AGOA presented saying “Regular shipment of containers carrying exports of Gambian products to the US enjoyed preferential treatment, with revenue earning streams and enabled the generation of foreign exchange to exporters who in return purchase goods easily from the US and shipped them back to Banjul”.
She said since its demise, this has not been the case and few that endured to continue in a small way, struggled to have their shipments received on time when they arrive and some even loose the consignment due to longer period. “In that case we will engage government to ensure that some of this pertinent issues needing urgent attention are addressed,” she noted.
The CEO, Gaye Njorro hairdressing, Fatou Gaye Saine said the importance of the meeting which brought together Gambian women entrepreneurs and business professionals cannot be over emphasized, saying “Giving the fact that women are engaged in all sectors of development they are arguably the movers of the Gambia’s economic”.
For her part, Awa Newlands, a representative of FLAG, said in its capacity as one of the leading organisations responsible for spearheading and advocating for women and children’s rights, FLAG has identified that women being more than half of the country’s population are the driving force of the economy.
“Equipping them with necessary tools to enhance their socioeconomic standing will not only aid them, but directly contributes to the development goals of the country,” she concludes.