By: Kebba AF Touray
Young entrepreneurs of The Gambia have strongly called on the government to intervene and help mitigate the challenges confronting them in their entrepreneurial endeavours. They made this clarion call in an interview on Saturday 6th October 2018, on the occasion of the launching of the “Gambia’s Good Market”.
The “Gambia’s Good Market”, has been jointly organized and sponsored by Association for Small Scale Enterprises in Responsible Tourism dubbed ASSERT and the Youth Empowerment Project fondly called YEP.
The ultimate aim of this partnership, according to the organisers, was to provide a market platform that will enable the entrepreneurs to showcase their production potentials in manufacturing locally sourced products, as well as to provide a point of sale for their products.
The “Gambia’s Good Market”, is a monthly event, which also aims to exhibit and expose local products that are natural, healthy and beautiful arts and craft, fashion and accessories, agro and food productions to tourists, experts and locals.
Binta Kah Badgie, the Proprietor of “Nopal JEG” Enterprise, explained that they deal in locally grown food products such as “Churai Gerteh”, “Carraw”, “Cherreh” and Groundnut Cake among others.
“All these are already pre-made and all you need to do is cook them and they are ready for human consumption”, she said.
Badgie thumped up the organisers for the unique platform that they created for them, elucidating that it will go a long way in providing a market for their products and also aid immensely in the attainment of food security and food self-sufficiency, as this will help prioritize locally produced food products, compared to imported foods. This, she averred, will also help cut the high cost of import expenditure of the country.
“This will boost our country’s economy and will provide job opportunities for the young people. I thank the organisers for this noble foresight and urge them to keep up the momentum. I also appeal to the government to provide us with financial support in this crusade”, she added.
Musa Njie, a dealer in leather products, stated that the move will encourage young people to actively take part in national development, describing the event as a source of promotion for entrepreneurs, with a view to empowering the country’s youth folks.
“As youth and citizens, we should engage in self-employed avenues. Lack of the needed production materials poses a great problem to our business undertakings. Notwithstanding this, we will not relent in our resolve to promote and prioritise locally made products”, he said.
Njie also harped on the need for the government to give all requisite business support to the young entrepreneurs in the country, adding that this will help curb irregular migration, which is depleting the country of its able bodied youth to the Mediterranean Sea.
Rose F Manga, Founder of RoZAfrig, narrated that her foundation specialises in crafting and recycling unique fashion products, with wax print and other local materials, while building the skills of young women.
“Our major constraint is the high cost of materials. To this end, I would like to appeal to the government and other relevant stakeholders to help in maximizing our products. I sincerely want to congratulate YEP and ASSERT for this magnanimous gesture that will go a long way in promoting our local products”, she cited.