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.]]>

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