Friday, April 15, 2011

Gambia’s Economy on Track, Streamline Business Reforms

As common market access to over 300 million people 
NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- The Gambia’s stable economy, safe environment, cheap labour force, and excellent transportation system, combined with the excellent lifestyle the nation offers, has stimulated investment across a wide range of sectors. The government of the day has complemented this advantageous business climate with a series of serious initiatives, including business-friendly reforms, prudent macroeconomic policies, investor outreach efforts, liberal trade policies, and improved port infrastructural and efficiency. The economy has an established track record in number of sectors, and new sectors are developing all the time, according to GIEPA publication.
The publication has been prepared by the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) in October 2010.
In the preface of the publication, signed by President Yahya Jammeh, he writes, “The Gambia continues to enjoy a robust economy. Economy growth for 2010 is projected at 5.0 percent, 5.3 percent for 2011, 5.5 percent for 2012, and 5.7 percent for 2013. “As a nation renowned for being a bastion of peace and security, that national milieu is what every investor requires to have a prosperous and secure investment,” Jammeh writes. 
   According to GIEPA, the government of The Gambia is continually trying to further streamline and improve business operations to reconfirm The Gambia’s role as an economic hub for West Africa adding that staring business in the country is easier than ever and significantly less complicated compared to other sub-Saharan countries including Mauritania, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea.
   The Gambia, according to the publication, has made particularly significant improvements in the trade across borders, making it notably easier for business in The Gambia to access Senegal and other West African countries.
 The publication added that, for many decades, business have benefited from The Gambia’s abundant semi-skilled and unskilled labour force revealing that wages in The Gambia are substantially lower than in many West African countries across all labor categories.
  At present, “average wages hover at $1 to $2 dollars a day, this large pool of relatively cheap labor has helped business lower operational coast.”
 Due to the highly stable economy, investors profit from a liberal, market0based economy characterized by sustained fiscal and monetary discipline, flexible, exchange rates, and reliable laws. In addition, the strengthened policy and regulatory framework have helped create a macroeconomic climate attractive to foreign investors.
 On the unrivaled access to a large and growing market, GIEPA publication revealed that industries in the country have a domestic market of 1.7 million people adding that the country’s well-developed infrastructure ensures that all major markets are only a short drive away. “Business in The Gambia also has easy access to Senegal’s large population of more than 12 million people. “ The Gambia’s trade agreements and advantageous positioning in the heart of West Africa also provides investors with unrivaled access to some of the world’s fastest growing economies.” 
  Business in The Gambia, GIEPA publication noted that it benefited from a well-functioning customs and port services, low import duties, minimal administrative procedures, and fluctuating exchange rate.
In addition, The Gambia’s membership in the ECOWAS, trading bloc of shared customs union and common market access to over 300 million people in West Africa.
    On other international markets, GIEPA publication says exports from The Gambia have been granted preferential access to both the United States and the European Union markets. It went on to state that the European Union offers quota- and duty free access with Everything But Arms (EBA).
Access to the United States market, it says is governed under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), offering duty-quota- free access to the U.S market.
The publication revealed that the transportation option is well-developed stating that The Gambia’s geographic position in the heart of West Africa and well-developed air, sea, and road transportation systems provides investors with easy access to the booming economies of members in the ECOWAS trade agreement.

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