By Adama Tine
Thirty-five Gambian journalists were on Monday trained on the ECOWAS Protocols and African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) by the Network of Financial and Tax Reporters (NFTR)- the Gambia Chapter in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment at NaNA conference hall.
The training was conducted with support from the ECOWAS National Office in Banjul through the trade ministry. Topics covered during the training included accuracy reporting on issues affecting The Gambia’s cross-border trade, especially on the free movement of goods and people within the West Africa sub-region.
The training was aimed at ensuring Gambian journalists critically understand their role in the promotion of regional integration within the sub-region.
Abdoulie Nyockeh, president of the network said supporting and empowering the media is crucial in the country’s development aspiration as the network’s vision is to equip and enhance the competence of Gambian journalists through capacity building to ensure they become more responsible.
Ebrima Sisawo, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade described the training as timely.
According to him, the Gambia’s contribution to international trade is just three percent which is very minimal. He added that it is only through this regional integration that the country can out-perform, saying there is need to trade among ourselves much more than it is happening right now.
Sisawo further said that the rate at which Gambians are trading amongst themselves is about 18 percent. He noted that there are a lot of opportunities in regional integration.
Muhammed S. Bah, Vice President of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) described the ECOWAS protocols and ACFTA as key issues that media personnel should know as well as help the public understand but also hold duty bearers accountable. He said it is 42 years since the inception of the ECOWAS protocol.
The GPU vice president expressed hope that after the day-long training, participants will intensively engage government on how far it has gone in implementing the ECOWAS protocol and ACFTA.