As part of efforts geared towards realising its organizational expectations, the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has undertaken what it terms re-organisational measures following a one-day sensitization meeting on the GCCI 5-year Strategic Plan 2006-2011.
The five-year strategic plan being the first of its kind to be prepared in the history of the Chamber, is designed to chart a clear course for the development of the organisation in the interest of the membership.
The 12 page document, which is yet to be finalised, covers areas such as membership, services to members, lobbying and representation, communication and media relations, training and development, organization structure, policy development and monitoring and review.
The meeting, held at the Paradise Suites Hotel last Thursday, brought together participants from the business community, parastatals and consultants with a view to scrutinising the proposed mission, vision and objectives of the document and subject it to change by the members where necessary.
According to Mr Bai Matarr Drammeh, president of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, “the vision of the Chamber is to transform the Gambia into a financial centre, a tourist paradise, trading, export-oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector sustained by a well educated, trained, skilled, healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population, and guarantying a well-balanced eco-system and a decent standard of living for one and all under a system of government based on the consent of the citizenry.
To achieve this vision, he added, GCCI would provide leadership. “While the evolution of the vision will be on an issue by issue and year by year basis, this vision will form the basis of the Chamber’s strategic policy,” he said.
Mr. Drammeh further revealed that the Gambia, building on the tradition of a trading nation it acquired under colonial rule and on the cultivation of groundnut as introduced by the colonial administration, based its economy on re-export trade into the sub-region and on the export of unprocessed groundnut to Europe and great Britain particularly.
“However, the continued drop of the prices of most agricultural products in the international market, combined with poor harvests, force the rural population to gradually give up their farms to settle in the urban areas in search for jobs,” the GCCI president noted, adding that this had led to the development of petty trading and other small services. Consequently, he added, the services sector has grown to the point of being the highest contributor to GDP.
Mr. Drammeh stated that the Gambia government has since reinforced the production base of the country by attracting foreign direct investment, thus developing a national economic policy agenda under “the Gambia Incorporated Vision 2020,” and setting the private sector as the engine of growth for the Gambian economy.