The Banjul-Brussels trade fare and investment mission Forum, yesterday 25th January 2018 began. The first ever bilateral economic mission according to officials is aimed at strengthening trade ties between the two nations.
Mr. Lamin Gaye, the chair of the event highlighted that the primary objective mission is to further cementing economic relations between Gambia and Belgium with a view to provide job opportunities in the country.
Mr. Philippe Colyn, Ambassador of Belgium to The Gambia said last year’s peaceful transition in The Gambia paved the way for the development of new and stronger relations between the two countries, thus leading to the revival of ties between them.
He stated that the mission will help to further solidify political, cooperative and economic partnership between Banjul and Brussels, which resulted to their series of meetings and discussions with President Adama Barrow during his last year’s visit.
He explained that the mission with Gambian officials and business partners will allow Belgian companies to get valuable first-hand information about the Gambia and to find business opportunities.
Ambassador Colyn said:
“I hope that this economic mission will sustain the commercial and economic ties between our two countries and will contribute to the emergence of The New Gambia.”
Mr. Peter de Roo of CBL-ACP congratulated The Gambia for the professional manner in which the mission`s modalities were molded.
“At the CBL-ACP, we are delighted with this realization of this first Belgian Economic Mission to The New Gambia. It is something we have put in much efforts and resources in terms of lobbying and working for with stakeholders in this very last year.”
He said this is motivated by the fact that Africa is the next economic frontier that will offer the most and the best business opportunities in the coming decades, which will he added will certainly be the case for The Gambia.
“It should be clear that the time for The Gambia is now. One year ago The Gambia has set an example for Africa, many positive changes have been taken place in the country and the challenge is now to anchor them and you are the ones who can contribute in doing so”, said Peter.
The Gambian Ambassador to Belgium, Teneng Mba Jaiteh, thanked her Belgian counterparts for the initial step taken with a view to explore the numerous investment opportunities that they have to offer.
She said during President Barrow’s last year’s visit, he held discussions with top Belgian authorities and key among them was the strengthening of bilateral ties and economic cooperation through trade and investment between the two nations. This she said was preceded with the Embassy’s series of engagements with the various chambers of commerce in Belgium, facilitated by their Desk Officer, Mr. Peter De Roo, to plan for a trade and investment mission to The Gambia and Senegal in early 2018.
She congratulated the stakeholders for the great initiative gear towards solidifying bilateral ties between Banjul and Brussels and assured them of their support in the realization of the primary aim of the mission.
In her opening remarks, H.E Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, revealed government’s commitments in ensuring sustainable economic development for the shared prosperity of its citizens, reduce inequity, poverty and improve the well-being of all Gambians, as embedded in the recently validated National Development Plan (NDP).
She added that cognizant of the daunting responsibilities on the new regime, the Government of The Gambia opened its doors to create avenues for both local and foreign private sector operators to invest and establish businesses in The Gambia.
“This we strongly believe will create a mutually beneficial relationship between the public and private sector and restore confidence of the latter in the government”, stressed VP Tambajang.
She finally reiterated that The Government of The Gambia is seeking increased and diversified investments and job creation opportunities across all the regions of the country, which she noted is the only way to provide better livelihoods for the citizenry.
Other speakers at the occasion hailed officials of the two states for what they described as a historic mission aim at strengthening ties between the countries and called for collective efforts in making it a fruitful mission.