Investment Incentive / Guide for The Gambia
Sunday, July 01, 2007
The Gambia is one of the small countries in West Africa with a total area of about 10,600 square kilometers. It is bounded on the West by the Atlantic Ocean and on all other sides by the republic of Senegal. The country forms a narrow stretch of land from the coast to about 400 kilometers inland, varying in width from about 50 kilometers near the coast to less than 35 kilometers island.
The River Gambia is by far the most important geographical feature and it divides the country into two equal parts. It provides excellent river transport and is rich in fish resources, both marine and fresh water fishes.
Lying within the sahelian zone, the Gambian climate is characterized by a long dry season from November to June and a short rainy season extending from June to October.
The current population is estimated at 1.5 Million (1994 projection) with an annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent. About 80 percent of the population live in the rural areas and are predominantly farmers.
Since independence in 1965, the Gambian economy is still dominated by Agriculture with groundnut production as its principal cash crop. Due to vagaries of weather, this economic sector continues to be severely constrained in terms of output compared with production inputs and therefore resulting to continuous decline in our overall gross domestic products and foreign exchange earnings.
In an endeavor to reverse this decline in the economy, the government had put in place the Economic Recovery Program(ERP) in 1985 which placed emphasis on major policy reforms in key economic agents as well as sectors. These reforms include inter alia: Liberalization of foreign exchange, divestiture and privatization of parastatals and government shares in other enterprises, reforms in key institutions providing support services to tile private sector, and liberalization of business activities with less interference by the government in the interactions of various economic agents in the country.
Projects in these sectors are awarded incentives in the form of duty waiver on capital equipment, spare parts, materials, and raw and/or semi-finished material inputs. Other incentives include preferential allocation of land to the project, on-the-job training and technical assistance, and identification of market opportunities for projects in the export sector. The government is committed to the development and expansion of export-led activities in the country. In this regard, investments in air cargo services and maritime shipping to enhance exports, are also considered for the award of investment incentives.
Agro Processing Industries
Manufacturing activities are limited to small and medium-scale enterprises producing mainly for the domestic market. There are large deposits of kaolin discovered in one of the provinces (URD), titaniferous beach sands, and salt which are currently unexploded. The demand for sanitary wares and quality ceramic tiles are currently met through imports. Investment in a foundry that uses scrap metals for the production of finished-iron and metal plates required in the construction industry and small-scale repair workshops, offers good opportunity. Similarly, light pharmaceutical industry and light engineering for manufacturing and assembling of electrical and mechanical components for domestic appliances and repair workshops, are considered to be potential areas of investment.