Twelve young men and women were on Wednesday certified as Empretec National Trainers after completing their two-year assessment process held at Khamsys Training Centre in Bijilo.
The primary objective of the project is to unleash the growth potential of micro and small-scale enterprises and bring transformational change through entrepreneurial skills training and the provision of a comprehensive range of business advisory services.
Delivering a statement on behalf of the Trade Minster, Anna Wadda-Taal of the Ministry described it as a historic moment in the advancement of entrepreneurship development in The Gambia.
She said the model seeks to introduce and propagate the use of entrepreneurial insight and skills that will transform economic activities to stimulate economic growth, create employment opportunities, reduce poverty and lay a foundation for a sustainable and all inclusive industrial development, which she added is a key milestone for her Ministry as per the new national development dispensation, PAGE II. This endeavour, she said is also in response to a call in the Vision 2020 blueprint –building an entrepreneurial society for a sustainable labour force in The Gambia labour market.
Ade Mamonyane Lekoerje, United Nations Development Programme’s Resident Representative in The Gambia said the overarching goal of the project is to achieve sustainable reduction of poverty, unemployment and enhance entrepreneurial zeal.
She added that for the past two years, EMPRETEC Ghana’s United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has worked with The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) to register giant successes in all its four components of the project, namely: strengthening the institutional capacity of GIEPA on enterprise development; entrepreneurial training and skills development for MSME’s, particularly women entrepreneurs; supporting businesses with business development services (BDS), and improving the business environment through policy dialogue and policy formulation for enhanced productivity and job creation opportunities.
“We hope to see your continuous support to the national EMPRETEC programme and in putting the national interest above personal interest,’’ she said, while thanking the government for facilitating this partnership and its collaboration with the UNDP.
Abdoulie Jallow, Chairman of the Project Steering Committee of Empretec Gambia said the successes registered so far have been tangible and impactful with over 1100 Gambians trained with special focus on youths and women, most of whom have undergone a high degree of transformation and mindset change and now in their individual capacities and competencies to take charge of their economic destinies by becoming entrepreneurs and thereby seeing opportunities and not obstacles for self emancipation.
He said the vision of the policy postulates that by 2026, The Gambia will have an enabling entrepreneurship environment, quality entrepreneurship education and a thriving entrepreneurial spirit embracing all parts of the country. This transformation, he added, would contribute to improve social conditions, in particular for disadvantaged groups such as women and youths, and contribute to sustainable solutions to current environmental challenges.
Other speakers included Nana Baffour Boateng of EMPRETEC Ghana; Fiorina Mugione, the Director of UNCTAD; Fatou Mbenga-Jallow, CEO of GIEPA, and Momodou Drammeh, Programme Manager of EMPRETEC.
by Aji Fatou Faal-Sonko