The Gambia Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency (GIPFZA), in collaboration with the Department of State for Trade, Industry and Employment, on Thursday, organised a day’s validation workshop at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
The validation workshop brought together stakeholders from different government institutions, financial institutions, civil society organisations and other development partners.
Delivering his keynote address at the occasion, Abdou Kolley, secretary of state for Trade Industry and Employment, said in 2001, The Gambia government enacted the Investment Promotion and Free Zone Act to promote private investment in the economy and allow the private sector to play a lead role in the management of the economic resources.
Sos Kolley added that the gathering was meant to take stock of that decision to review and assess the two Acts and make them more responsive to the emerging challenges of poverty alleviation, technology development and to meet the millennium development goals.
“Also, we need to reflect on the realities of the sub-regional integration process and the new economic partnership arrangement, which provide not only opportunities but also pose great challenges to our development,” he said.
According to him, the enactment of the two Acts and their subsequent review indicates the government’s strong conviction that promotion of private investment particularly Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is central to our development process, adding that the government is very much aware of the value of the FDI as it will help diversify our economy, encourage domestic investment, bring in skills, technology and market access and lead to economic growth and social development.
SoS Kolley finally said building national consensus requires national consultation and his Department of State in 2007 formed an inter-departmental taskforce comprising all the key stakeholders to guide the review process.
Professor Don Lecraw from the University of Western Onlario, Canada, was the consultant who gave the overview of the draft document at the occasion.