U.S. – Gambia Diaspora Summit Promotes Partnership, Trade, Investment

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Officials at the summit

By Fatou Dahaba

In a bid to strengthen the bilateral relationship and promote trade between The Gambia and The United States, The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) hosted the first-ever U.S. Gambia Diaspora Summit 2023 on Wednesday, the 20th.

The summit’s goal is to promote the US-Gambia partnership through trade and investment with the theme of “promoting U.S-Gambia relations for growth and prosperity through the real estate development sector and AGOA ABCs.”

Bilateral trade is significant because it contributes to economic growth, increased foreign investment, and the development of close diplomatic ties between nations. Access to new markets is possible via bilateral trade agreements, which may assist countries’ economic growth, The United States Ambassador to The Gambia, Sharon L. Cromer, said at the event.

The United States Ambassador to The Gambia, Sharon L. Cromer

She reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting the Gambia’s private sector investment by providing more support to strengthen trade and partnership.

She said The Gambia has many competitive advantages that entrepreneurs find attractive, such as its strategic location between the U.S. and Europe, its stable economy, and its status as an Anglophone country.

“Many challenges hinder your efforts to expand your businesses and create jobs, such as the need for more infrastructure and a legal framework to operate your businesses. But the U.S. is taking a holistic approach to supporting government efforts to address this constraint to economic growth and private sector investment.”

Essa Bokar Sey, Former Gambian U.S.Ambassador to the U.S., said during his time in the U.S. as ambassador, he made a lot of moves to establish solid trade links between The Gambia and the USA, especially where the country is eligible for AGOA, and thus be able to access the U.S. market and use our quota in earnest.

Essa Bokar Sey, Former Gambian U.S.Ambassador to the U.S.,

“Our women folk in The Gambia are engaged in import-export activities across the Atlantic as far as food items,’ he said.

According to him, the above pointers call for continuity, which cannot be guaranteed without commitment.

“We must understand that the real America is not “Media America” or “Hollywood America. ” Bearing in mind regulations, we can export our fish, cotton, and other products to the USA and likewise import into the Gambia from the USA.

Dr. Pual J. Mendy, deputy governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia, said the diaspora community plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of their countries of origin; their potential contribution to developing countries like The Gambia goes beyond the transfer of remittances. He said such contributions may include participation in philanthropic activities, skills and knowledge transfer, foreign direct investment, and increased trade links.

Dr. Pual J. Mendy, deputy governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia

“The diaspora could also play an important role in investment by directly investing in countries of origin or helping attract non-diaspora investors. This is due to their good knowledge of their countries of origin and the trust others have in them if they are to invest in countries like ours,” the senior central bank official told the Summit.

On the impact of remittances on the country’s economy, Dr. Mendy said in 2022, remittances stood at USD 712.45 million, accounting for 35 percent of the country’s nominal GDP.

“As of September this year, remittances stood at US$562 million.. this shows that remittances are a key source of foreign exchange for the Gambia and have a considerable impact on the country’s balance of payments.

Dr. Lamin E. Drammeh said the U.S. chamber is a good incubator for economic empowerment and growth but must meet the backbone of farmers, especially women producers.

Dr. Lamin E. Drammeh

He said the product can only be introduced to the international market through a partnership between the government, the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, and the Digital Economy.

“But this requires policy, principles, great collaboration, humility, and seriousness. The era of foreign aid is over; it is partnership and development that is meaningful and sustained,’ he said.

Mr. Momodou Lamin Drammeh, CEO of AmCham, expresses sincere gratitude to everyone who graced the occasion, partners, and their sponsors for contributing immensely to the success of the Summit.

The networking session was designed to provide brand and service awareness, and the U.S. Ambassador was impressed by the showcasing of Gambian-made products and services.

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