Monday, December 12, 2011

Gambia's Biennial Trade Fair Commences

The 5th biennial trade fair of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), which runs for about two weeks at the Independent Stadium in Bakau, commenced on 8 December and officially opened by the Vice President of the country, Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy.

The trade fair is held to bring wide range of economic operators into close contacts to build effective partnerships that will positively impact on development of the private sector towards sustainable growth and development.

Speaking at a press conference held at the GCCI office on Kairaba Avenue recently, Almamy Taal, Chief Executive Officer of GCCI, said the theme of the 11-day event is “Promoting Made in The Gambia”.

Explaining the rationale behind choosing such a theme, Mr Taal said: “We are trying to see how best we can help our members to make products that are not only fit for local consumption but are also good enough to compete in the international market.”

The GCCI hopes that the trade fair would be part of the process to promote exports emanating from The Gambia.

The main sponsors of this year’s fair are Africell and the Social Development Fund. 

“We need this sponsorship because organizing a trade fair is not an easy thing and if we are to depend only on the payment of those who will exhibit then it would not be possible to organize it economically. For that reason, we are very grateful to our sponsors,” CEO Taal said, adding:  “We have some partners as well and leading them is Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), Unique Solutions, and Global Properties.”

The media partners include the GRTS, West Coast Radio, Capital FM and Teranga FM.

As usual, there will be some international participants from across Africa and other parts of the world.

There will be international exhibitors from Taiwan, Kenya and some countries in the sub-region including Ghana and Senegal, Mr Taal disclosed, saying that some of them have already confirmed their participation and have paid for their stalls. 

“Apart from that, we are expecting quite a few international exhibitors who will come on their own and when they get here they will start making arrangement for their stalls,” he added.

However, during the last trade fair, in 2009, Gambian Vice President Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy urged the GCCI “to work hard” to increase international participation, saying: “Interaction between local and international companies is one of the best ways to promote The Gambia as an investment destination and to forge linkages between local and foreign companies.” 

The international exhibitors in 2009 included those from Taiwan, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau and Benin.

Mr Taal urges Gambians to come out in large numbers to patronise the goods and services that will be exhibited.
Beatrice Prom, head of corporate affairs of the GCCI and the supervisor of the trade fair, said that even though the trade fair will start on 8 December, the official opening will be on 10 December and it is expected to the graced by President Yahya Jammeh, who is also the chief patron of the GCCI.
The press conference also witnessed signing of contract between the GCCI and some institutions that will provide services for the trade fair.

Contract for the construction of stalls on the ground of the exhibition was given to Afriwood Furniture Company, owned by Ndey Awa Khan.  The contract for cleansing services at the trade fair venue was awarded to Fatoumata Jah’s Lala’s Cleansing Services, whilst installation of electrical appliances given to PAGES, an engineering firm, represented by Ebrima Jallow. Esam Security Services got the contract of providing security services, signed by Samba Camara.


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