The Gambia, through TAF Africa Global, has invited dozens of investors fondly called the Big Boys from Nigeria to explore potential investment opportunities in the country.
This is part of the Public-Private Partnership agreement which gave TAF Africa Global 160 hectares at the Yundum International Airport for development purpose.
The two-day economic trip which was characterized by site visits ended with an assurance by the Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray of the Gambia’s readiness to welcome Nigerian investors. She told the guests that cross-border investments are a way of fulfilling African integration which provides sharing of good practices, experiences and opportunities.
“I will urge you to please look at The Gambia as your sister country because you participated in effecting the move from a dictatorship to a democratically-elected,” VP Touray said of the Nigerians. “Therefore we have to walk the journey to move The Gambia to a higher height. The Gambia is good for business, it’s open for business and it’s ready for business. The policies are friendly, responsive to the current situation and you are safe to do your business.”
The CEO of TAF Africa Global, Mustapha Njie said the GIETAF project at the airport will soon be launched and it needs a foreign-direct investment.
“We’ve always been interested in attracting investments from Nigeria for obvious reason. Nigeria in terms of population is half of West Africa. It’s an economic giant and is the biggest GDP in Africa. So if you are doing investments within West Africa as we have seen in the banking sector in this country, it’s good to look at a place like Nigeria.”
GIETAF is a public-private partnership between The Gambia government and TAF Africa Global for the 160 hectares of land at the airport.
The Director of Corporate Services at GIEPA, Seedy Bittaye told The Chronicle that it is necessary to have foreign direct investments in the country. According to him, the government, GIEPA and TAF Africa Global have signed a joint venture of contract for the development of 160 hectares at the airport.
“So these people coming here are big boys from Nigeria. They will help us because the economic zone will have different areas like manufacturing. And if they come and invest in The Gambia, that will also help in terms of employment opportunities for young people. That said, I think this is a good cause and we will be very grateful to TAF for directing investors to The Gambia.“
Bittaye said GIEPA, as an institution is mandated to promote and facilitate investments but argued that the institution is constrained by a limited budget allocation. “In this visit, some of the potential investors have shown interest and immediacy to embark on the investments, including the waste management venture.”
The CEO of the Nigerian Estate Link, Benga Olanio, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues at a dinner as part of the visit, has promised more visits. “This is just the first among several visits. We will definitely go back and inform people of what is going on in The Gambia.”
Olaide Agboola, the managing partner of Lagos based Purple Capital which focuses on residential and assets development, told The Chronicle that he and his colleagues were inspired to be in The Gambia by TAF to see the investments opportunities. “We have seen some of the great opportunities that The Gambia has to offer from residential developments to land, and free trade zone development that TAF is working on.”
For Raymond Asare-Sintim, a security expert and business development executive for ProForce Limited in Nigeria, all is set for his company to join the Gambian market as talks started with the Gambian authorities. His business specializes on manufacturing patrol boats, helmets and vests, as well as providing intelligence guides to nations in terms of criminal investigation and financial crimes and providing border security.
“What we can bring to The Gambia is to provide security systems such as the intelligent system where we can have a command and control center to do a lot of investigations for government and we can also help with the border security which will have surveillance and other features. I believe we can invest here.”
Asare-Sintim said as the country booms its investments powers, it needs a strong security to maintain stability.
“Whatever we do we don’t just come with staff. We bring some people who are technology minded to ensure we train the locals to also be able to take these opportunities and learn from it so that they can take over and handle it.
Now that we have established contacts, the next few days we will continue to talk with the government to say when we should come. We are ready to come immediately.”