The West Africa Competiveness Programme (WACOMP) – The Gambia held its first Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting on Monday 22nd November 2021 at Metzy Residence Hotel in Kololi, The Gambia.

Funded by the European Union (EU), the WACOMP project is aimed at increasing The Gambia’s competitiveness through enhanced quality compliance along the onion value chain by improving the performance, growth and contribution to industry, regional trade and exports of onion and other horticulture value chain.

WACOMP in The Gambia is implemented by the United National Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Purpose (UP) in partnership with the Ministry of Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment (MOTIE) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).

The Project Steering Committee (PSC) provides the oversight of the project, reviews and approves its annual work plan and inception report. The PSC also gathers lessons learned, identifies possible challenges and proposes mitigation actions for the project.

The Committee, which convenes twice per year, is co-chaired by the MOTIE and the EU Delegation in The Gambia. The PSC consists of the European Union Delegation in The Gambia, Ministry of Ministry of Trade, Industry, Employment (MOTIE) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), National Authorizing Officer Support Unit (NAOSU), The Gambia Standards Bureau (TGSB), Food Safety Quality Authority (FSQA), Sosolaso (Umberalla body of Marketing Federations), Gambia Horticultural Enterprises Ltd and the two implementing agencies.

“WACOMP will contribute to market linkages with the tourism sector and strengthen compliance capacity of upstream value chain actors such that products meet mandatory and voluntary quality parameters, including that of Food Safety,” said Ms. Lumana Kamashi, the Development Cooperation / International Aid Officer of the European Union Delegation in The Gambia.

She expressed hope that there will be strong technical competencies, capabilities, and capacities of quality infrastructure institutions and conformity assessment service providers so that the system as a whole and its institutions better respond to agri-food sector needs.

The UNIDO Representative to The Gambia, Mr. Christophe Yvetot, commended the EU Delegation in The Gambia for the solid partnership– in supporting job creation and local economies while ensuring environmental preservation.

The implementing agencies of WACOMP in The Gambia, UNIDO and United Purpose, presented their respective annual and inception reports outlining planned activities which were reviewed and approved by the members of the Committee.

The meeting was also attended by WACOMP project staff in The Gambia and the UNIDO Headquarters in Vienna, who joined virtually.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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