The Gambia Government has launched a project to provide matching grant support to qualifying Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and eligible private enterprises to become more competitive, grow their businesses, create jobs and increase household incomes.
The launching of the Matching Grant Facility on 27 December, according to the Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, “signifies that we will be entering 2012 with hopes and aspirations to become better entrepreneurs with resolutions of creating employment, better services and sustained wealth for improved livelihood of the Gambian people”.
|Gambia's Trade Minister, Hon. Kolley|
In his launching statement at the Kairaba Beach Hotel recently, Trade Minister Abdou Kolley said the project would help The Gambia’s private sector to successfully partake and grow in the domestic and international market.
The Matching Grant Facility (MGF) is a sub-component of the World Bank-funded Growth and Competitiveness Program. It seeks to confirm long-term sustainable job creation and income generation by providing enterprises in The Gambia with the necessary assistance to facilitate growth of their business in a planned, business-savvy manner.
“This initiative is in line with the Government’s strategy of improving competitiveness by adopting measures that will sustain macroeconomic growth and stability, make the business environment more competitive, and strengthen the relationship between the government and the private sector,” Hon. Kolley said.
From 2012 to 2015, the Gambia Government says it will commit itself to acting in three areas, namely trade facilitation, improving the investment climate, and quality control systems, in order to reinforce its actions to improve the business climate.
The government plans to strengthen sources of economic growth, especially growth that will benefit the poor, the Trade minister said, adding that the MGF is one of such facilities that will promote inclusive growth and create economic opportunities along with ensuring equal access to resources for the Gambian entrepreneurs.
In addition, he explained, the inclusive growth will address inequality as well as make poverty reduction efforts more effective by explicitly creating productive economic opportunities for the poor and vulnerable sections of the society.
In parallel, the sub-component of the MGF will also provide non-matching grants to invest in public goods that will strengthen the competitiveness of key economic clusters such as horticulture.
Hon. Kolley said the MGF will consist of four windows with each window responding to an important component of the Gambian economy.
A key component of the MGF is horticulture scheme, which is strongly anchored on private-public partnership. The design of the horticulture out-growers scheme focuses on scaling up and commercialization of mango production.
“This and other interventions are expected to attract private investors to enter into commercial partnerships that will not only directly increase household incomes of poor farmers but also stimulate growth of the agro-processing sector in The Gambia as well as link farmers to global markets,” Minister Kolley explained.
However, the successful implementation of the MGF will no doubt contribute to significant achievements of the key development goals and programmes of The Gambia such as the Vision 2010.