The13th International Trade Fair is underway at the Independence Stadium in Bakau focusing on the theme: “Regional Business Networking and Youth Empowerment Through Skills Training”.
The annual event brings together thousands of actors from the business community. This year’s trade fair also witnessed the launch of the ‘Tekkit Fii’ (Make it in the Gambia) project and campaign, a new government initiative supported by the European Union aimed at significantly scaling quality job and entrepreneurship opportunities available for young Gambia.
At the fair, over 450 stalls are exhibiting local and sub-regional goods and services. Among them are farm products exhibited by farmers in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Muhammad Jagana, the outgoing president of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry used his opening statement to announce plans for the construction of a World Class Trade Fair Center in Brusubi.
The EU Ambassador to the Gambia, Attila Lajos promised that the EU would continue to empower young Gambian people through entrepreneurship. The EU, through the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) has trained and supported more than 2000 Gambian youth.
Lamin Jobe, the Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment described the trade fair as a networking tool for both local and international businesses. He said this offered many new opportunities for Gambian businesses.
The new Vice President, Dr. Isatou Touray said the Tekki Fii initiative is well aligned to the objectives of the National Development Plan (2018-2021), “which recognises the youth as essential engine for achieving growth and development.”
“Furthermore, it is a strategic response to my government’s commitment to leave no youth behind in national development. Evidently therefore, the programme is expected to contribute to the NDP objective of reducing youth unemployment to 30 percent by 2021.”
VP Touray called on the youths to be proactive and to take full advantage of all the opportunities available.
“it is crucial the market force guide our training and business development efforts; thus, we need to understand the potentials and requirements in terms of quality, quantity and timing and that there is no better place to explore these potentials and assess their corresponding requirements than the trade fair.
At the Made in Gambia Pavilion, Fatou Secka, the founder of Tima’s Designs, parades her straps, bracelets and other accessories she produces. Tima started her business in 2018 and has since been using Facebook, Whatsapp and other social media networks to market her products.
She’s participating in the trade fair for the first time. “This is a great opportunity for me. I feel this will give me a great space to showcase my creativity and build my network,” she says.
At the Youth Pavilion, Moses Ann, the founder of Anzy’s Fashion does African print clothing with European outfits and handmade accessories made in the Gambia. He hopes to use the trade fair to network, attract customers and share ideas with others.