The Gambia launches its new five-year export strategy

Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia. The Gambia is on a drive to increase its exports. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

28 August 2021 – The Gambia, with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat, last week launched its new five-year export strategy. The export strategy is aimed at ensuring dynamic and sustainable economic growth in this west African country.

To be implemented from 2021 to 2025, the National Export Strategy (NES) is expected to increase The Gambia’s exports, diversify its products, create new job opportunities, reduce poverty and boost momentum to achieve the countries National Development Plan (NDP) 2018–2021 and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At a launch ceremony held in Banjul, capital city of The Gambia last week, Seedy Keita, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE), acknowledged the Commonwealth’s role in providing technical assistance to support the development of the strategy.

“This strategy is expected to improve the country’s trade balance and its ranking in exports. Despite the country’s small-scale production, it is envisaged that the NES will provide support to diversify the economy, which will improve The Gambia’s access to the international markets,” he said.

The new strategy is crucial for the export sector as currently The Gambia experiences trade deficits as imports exceed exports. In 2019 alone, The Gambia’s total export of goods amounted to 1.573-billion dalasi (GMD), while its total import of goods stood at GMD31.076- billion.

To address this huge trade deficit, the NES identifies six priority areas to enhance increased exports. These sectors include tourism, horticulture and agribusiness, fisheries, groundnut, cashew, and light manufacturing.

Additionally, cross-cutting issues include transportation and trade facilitation, information and communication technology (ICT), access to finance, human resource development and research, intelligence and innovation.

This is the second NES prepared with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat, with cooperation from The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) and the private and public sectors.

The Gambia re-joined the Commonwealth in February 2018 after exiled President Yahya Jammeh, pulled the country out of the Commonwealth in 2013. Jammeh at the time said that the 52-member group was a neo-colonial institution.

According to Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the 54-member organisation is committed to support The Gambia in its aspiration to become a formidable exporting nation, to increase standards of living for its citizens, and to build a pathway of sustainable economic growth.

“The 2021 to 2025 export strategy builds on the 2013-2017 NES framework, drawing out lessons and fine-tuning actions to align with national priorities,” said Scotland.

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