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Gambia’s trade minister re-affirms importance of entreprenuer training

Published date:
Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Gambian Minister of Trade and Employment, Mr. Baboucarr Jallow has re-echoed the importance of the training under the United States Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which the US embassy in Banjul is providing to Gambian entrepreneurs on Monday and Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day training at the Sheraton hotel in Brufut, about 17 kilometres fromBanjul, he said “the nature of today’s training is highly commendable and in the right direction that would enhance practical expertise”.

According to him, The Gambia’s private sector cannot do everything at once and needs collaboration, adding that the apparel and textile sector could represent a good starting point.

Minister Jallow said that the American market has its quality requirements and this calls for hard work, diligence and dedication. He called on the fashion designers to do so.

“Some of our neighbors are successfully exporting to the US market and I see no reason why we cannot push ourselves a little bit more”, he stated and then urged them to seize the momentum to critically assess and challenge themselves to penetrate the American market.

To Jallow, there are some key areas that need to be addressed before they can make any meaningful attempts to penetrate the US market.

“We all know problems persist in the area of neat and acceptable finishing, consistent pattern, cutting, timely delivery of orders, dealing with large orders, to name a few,” he said.

He called on the sector to work together as a team not individually.

“Try to find in what ways you can complement each other’s areas of specialization and pull your resources together,” he told them, adding that the Ministry will continue supporting the private sector in the textile and apparel industry to make optimal use of AGOA.

The Director of the West African Trade Hub, Dakar Office, Mr. Mukhtar Thiam also spoke at the opening calling on participants to make best use of AGOA. He added that the US embassy was one of the most dynamic embassies in the sub-region.

“I worked with 21 countries in the sub-region but to me the US embassy in Banjul is the most dynamic”.

According to him, USAID and WATH provide technical assistance to over 350 companies in six value chains across 21 countries in the region linking them with buyers and investors, and preparing them to present bankable request for financing and investment.

The Trade Hub, he said works with commercial banks, multi-lateral institutions and investors to promote export.

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