Gambia: Trade ministry, US embassy poised to improve bilateral trade, investment

Gambia: Trade ministry, US embassy poised to improve bilateral trade, investment
Banjul, capital of Gambia
Published
Friday, 24 May 2013 ~ FATOUMATA SENGHORE

The US Embassy Wednesday organised a seminar on Franchise at the Sunswing Hotel in Kololi. The seminar was designed to educate interested Gambian private sector operators on the procedures for acquiring a US Franchise and the rules and regulations of operating such a business.

Speaking at the occasion, the US ambassador, Edward Alford, said that his embassy and the Gambia Ministry of Trade have a common desire to increase US-Gambia bilateral trade and investment. He told the gathering that in the US, the private sector has over the past few decades, developed very successful service industries and a particularly strong anchor to this sector has been franchise, which allows individual entrepreneurs to open outlets in their home towns.

He explained that from fast foods to insurance providers, franchising allows both flexibility in management, lower liability and individual investment, paired with the marketing and logistical support from parent companies. "This has been successful throughout the United States and is quickly catching the imagination of entrepreneurs all over the world," he remarked.

He further stated that franchising continues to play a crucial role in the United States economy, by stimulating trade and investment and providing the needed employment throughout a range of sectors.

Ambassador Alford also said that it is about time that The Gambia had a US franchise business to serve its growing tourism and service industries. He then urged the country's private sector to take up the challenge and consider seeking out this partnership with US companies and bringing additional American brands to The Gambia. He assured that the US Embassy is here to help in anyway it can and will continue to provide all the necessary guidance and support to any businessperson who is committed to securing a US franchise.

On his part, the minister of Trade, Kebba Touray, said that the seminar demonstrates the strong desire and commitment of the US Embassy to promote solid business ties between the two nations. He recalled that in the previous years, the US Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade had organised a series of training programmes including the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides unparalleled incentives to eligible African countries like The Gambia to do business with the US.

According to him, such training programmes specifically target Gambian fashion designers. He thanked the US government for the opportunity, while also recalling the significant efforts that the US Embassy in Banjul has made over the years to support private sector development in the country. Minister Touray added that the seminar had a direct bearing and significant potential impact on several of his ministry's portfolios namely; enterprise, development, investment and trade promotion, and the enhancement of sustainable livelihood.

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