By Ndey Sowe
The Vice President, Dr. Isatou Touray, has revealed that the Gambia Government is considering the establishment of a Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Fund in a bid to boost employment rate in the country.
“The government has considered the establishment of MSMEs fund to enhance support for MSMEs to grow and create employment and as well contribute to socio economic development of the country,” she said.
Dr. Touray made this remark while presiding over the Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC) stakeholder’s engagement forum on Policy Challenges and Solutions for Startup Business in The Gambia. The forum was supported by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a political foundation closely associated with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU).
The event brought together government officials and young entrepreneurs across the country to “advocate for a youth friendly policy environment for young entrepreneurs in The Gambia”.
The forum was aimed at supporting start-up businesses during and posts Covid-19 through policy advocacy, implementation and promotion of MSMEs through reduced taxation.
Speaking further, VP Touray said MSMEs are the engines of economic growth in most developing economies.
This, she said, is because they provide livelihood for owners, entrepreneurs and investors, who depend largely on such businesses to meet their family needs.
“Government believes that micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) are critical and pivotal in the development of the country,” she said.
Madam Touray said MSMEs also contribute to economic growth through the provision of goods and services to serve the requirements of the citizenry, thereby increasing productivity and reducing poverty, unemployment, and others.
Also speaking at the forum, Director of Industry at the Ministry of Trade, Fabba Jammeh, acknowledged the important role MSMEs play in the socio-economic development of The Gambia.
“MSMEs create and retain wealth, generate employment, contribute 20% to GDP and employ the largest share of 60% of the active labor force,” he said.
GYCC President, Ismaila Sambou, said most existing startups face significant challenges due to the COVID -19 crises.
He said the policy forum comes at a time when African Union had initiated a continental free trade agreement creating a single market of 1.2 billion, making it one of the biggest continental markets in the world.
“Gambia is the 22nd country to ratify and put it into force. Therefore, we should not be left behind and thus we organize such a forum to initiate a discussion on our policy reforms, challenges and opportunities to prepare for a better business environment for youth and women”, he said.
He equally thanked KAS for funding the event and their partners for their support.
Alagie Jarju, Executive Director National Youth Council (NYC), emphasized the need for young people to have social, economic and political support to help them realize their full potentials and live a dignified life. He congratulated GYCC and its partners for staging the forum.