Tuesday 20th December 2022:
The Gambia Competitiveness Improvement Forum (GamCIF) was on Tuesday launched by the Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration, and Employment – Hon Baboucarr Joof. The well-attended event by over 130 invitees comprising of the business community, cabinet ministers, regional governors, permanent secretaries, senior government officials, members of the counselor and diplomatic corps amongst other invitees was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference center in Bijilo, with the theme “Establishing “The Gambia as an Investment Hub. Advocating for a Friendlier Business Environment”.
The GamCIF is a public-private platform established under the GiEPA Act 2015 (Section 78). The Act designates H.E the President as Chairman of the GamCIF Executive Body comprising of nine cabinet ministers, five private sector representatives, agencies and civil society representatives, ministries as well as other key stakeholder representatives. The forum is a designated legislated body aiming to bring together all government stakeholders and harmonize synergy in an umbrella structured framework, with the objective of establishing an enabling business and investment environment for The Gambia. The initiative is also meant to boost our country’s ease of doing business rankings globally, and improve job creation and our foreign exchange earnings for sustainable economic growth and development.
Welcoming invitees to the occasion setting to creating an enabling business environment, the Chief Executive Officer of the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GiEPA) – Ousainou Senghore, expounded on the mandate of his agency which amongst other things include: promoting and facilitating investment and export; providing support for enterprise development; creating conducive business environment; and providing advocacy. He further urged the business community to explore the vast potentials the GamCIF will provide including interchange between public-to-public, public-to-private, private-to-private, and civil society. This Senghore said will help in providing policy recommendations for economic reforms meant to promote sustainable growth for our economy and showcase a competitive investment environment for all actors in a win-win situation.
Also speaking on the launch of the forum was Hon. Hamat Bah – the Minister for Tourism and Culture and a senior cabinet member. Hon. Bah expressed concern about the rising trend of competition amongst institutions tasked to bring change and urge all to support each other in a united direction to serve the common interest of the average Gambian and by far the business community. He however called on authorities to preserve land for investment and support GiEPA and all its collaborative partners to realize the implementation and success of the GamCIF. The firebrand politician further warns against incompetence and measures targeted to discourage efficiency in public institutions adding ‘President Barrow’s government has zero tolerance for sabotage, mongering, and duplication of precious government resources meant to serve the taxpayer’.
Declaring the GamCIF officially launched on behalf of the President of the Republic of the Gambia – H.E Adama Barrow, the Hon Minister for Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment – Hon Baboucarr Joof expressed government commitment through the cabinet and its various structures to support GiEPA, citing the launch of the GamCIF as an example. He further pledged his Ministry’s support and direction, adding the executive committee of the forum will be looking forward to the technical working groups chaired by permanent secretaries to start work in earnest in the first quarter of 2023 and report back to the forum accordingly for redress.
The composition of the GamCIF includes the President of the Republic, The Ministers of Trade, Finance, Justice, Information, Communications, Higher Education, Agriculture, Lands, Tourism, and Fisheries; the Governor of the Central Bank, the Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority, the Managing Director of the Gambia Ports Authority, the Chief Executive Officer of GiEPA, Five Private Sector Representatives nominated by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nine Civil Society Representatives.