The 4th Edition of the Gambia Trade Fair, organised by t he Gambia Chamber of Commerce, opened at the Independence Stadium, in Bakau, Mon d ay night.
Over 200 local and international companies are taking part in this yearâ?s trad e fair.
Declaring the fair open, Gambian Vice President, Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy, said the interest manifested by participating companies in the trade fair, irrespective o f the global economic down turn, was a testimony to the confidence the companies
reposed in the nation’s economy.
â?It is a testimony to the sound and prudent macro-economic policies anchored o n the promotion of the private sector as the engine of growth, which my governme n t has adopted in 1994,â? Saidy said.
She expressed confidence that the country was on the right direction, “given is leading position in Africa”, adding that the Gambia continued to hold internatio n al business ranking according to the World Economic forum and the World Bank bus i ness surveys.
However, she said the achievements should not by any means make the citizens com placent but rather a call to work harder because they had a lot more to do in or d er to take The Gambia to higher levels in a short period.
Saidy noted that the United Nationâ?s day for the industrialisation of Africa w ould be celebrated 20 November and urged the trade fair participants to use the d ay as an opportunity to reflect on how to achieve what she called the rapid indu s trialisation of The Gambia and come up with concrete actions to be taken to reac h that goal.
â?Let us take advantage of the presence of businesses from industrialised natio ns like Taiwan at this trade fair, to borrow ideas from them and to forge partne r ships for industrial investments in The Gambia,â? she urged.
She lamented that Africa, despite its immense natural resources, weighed a littl e in the international trade.
“The main reason is that so many years after independence, we have not been able to set on an industrialisation path and we keep on exporting our natural resour c es in their raw form and buy them in their processed form,” Saidy said.
â?We must reverse that trend if we want to play a significant role in the inter national trade relations and get our people out of the poverty trap,â? she stres sed.
This would require efforts on the part of the people, she said, arguing that it also required a fairer multilateral trading system, where no country or group of
countries were bent on exploiting the others.