By Cherno Omar Bobb
Hussein Diab Ghanem, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland to the Republic of the Gambia has said that the Gambia still has a lot of untapped opportunities and potential for growth, which can only be brought about by collaboration and strategic partnerships.
Mr. Ghanem made these remarks on Monday at Sunset Beach Hotel during the opening of the first ever Gambia-Poland economic forum officially organised by the Polish and Gambian authorities.
He added that if the forum eventually leads to at least one Polish company linking up with a Gambian counterpart they would have succeeded in contributing to the progress of both economies no matter how small it may be. He expressed thanks to the government policies, a stable democracy, a relative ease of doing business the Gambia is reinventing itself as not only a leisure tourist attraction but an African economic hub, results of which are evident in the significant increase of foreign direct investment in the country.
According to him, the recent past has taught us the importance of diversification and all-round economic development, saying it was in this spirit that they host the forum that will facilitate a natural progression in consummating business communities from both countries and boost growth in different sectors where possible.
The Polish ambassador, based in Dakar, Senegal, Margareta Kassangana encouraged participants to take the opportunity and learn about both economies, adding that both countries share a lot in common which she said is a good start.
The Gambian Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Mamadou Tangara, described the forum as an opportunity to strengthen the two countries’ relationship. He said the government was working to create a conducive environment for investors, adding that the private sector can be an engine for development, as the government cannot do it all alone.
Stephane Meert, head of cooperation of the European Union (EU) Delegation to the Gambia said promoting and facilitating trade and investment cooperation between EU and non-EU businesses is a key element of development. He pointed out that the current scale of economic exchange between the Gambia and EU is below what is feasible especially on export of goods, adding that it is also difficult for Gambian businesses to enter foreign markets.
Meert highlighted that there is large room for mutually beneficial economic cooperation and hoped the forum will create new business relations, creating jobs and supporting economic growth in the Gambia and Poland.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Alieu Secka, said they do not only want businesses to trade in the Gambia but ensure that it was a win-win for both sides.
The forum was organised by the Polish Embassy, the Honorary Consul of Poland in the Gambia and the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH), with the participation of the EU Delegation and the Gambian authorities.
Responding to growing interest among Polish and Gambian companies to further develop mutual cooperation, the Polish Embassy, the Honorary Consul of Poland in the Gambia and the Polish Investment and Trade Agency organised the Poland-Gambia Economic Forum with the participation of the EU Delegation and the Gambian authorities.
The event provided a platform for exchange between the Gambian business representatives and industries and the Polish companies, hopefully resulting in the establishment of mutually beneficial economic partnership.
Four thematic sessions on food and agriculture, construction and finishing materials, medical sector and FinTech (financial technologies) sector were presented.