By Yunus S Saliu
The New Trade Zone (NTZ) in collaboration with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), on Wednesday, held a daylong Gambia and Turkey Business Council forum with the business community of the Gambia at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Senegambia.
The forum was used to explore and discuss various business opportunities available for the Gambian and Turkish business communities in both countries, as the Gambia government and the GCCI encouraged investment across all sectors.
Other sectors for investment included agribusiness, renewable energy, light manufacturing, transportation, and tourism, while investment in other sectors is also welcome such as general trading.
In his opening remarks, Sulayman Mboge, GCCI board member, under the leadership of the president of the GCCI Board of directors and the business council welcomed the business community, especially the guests, the visiting Turkey Business Council, to the forum.
He thanked the President of The Gambia and his Turkey counterpart for cementing the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
As a member of the board of directors and Turkey/Gambia business council, he assured that the GCCI and the business community would not only participate in the important business forum, “but also be grateful and happy to partner with the Turkeys business community for the impact this forum could have on all.”
Mr. Mboge disclosed that The Gambia has been in partnership with Turkey on a range of activities from security, energy, education, health, and trading of general goods and services from the first Republic.
Therefore, he noted, this forum is an opportunity for the Gambian business community to engage Turkey’s counterpart on business opportunities.
The Gambia has been one of the most peaceful and competitive labour cost markets, he noted that it makes it better for investors to invest, saying “I will want to encourage Gambian businesses also to use this opportunity to be able to export to Turkey’s market our fresh vegetables and fruits including local products such as Baobab and the wonjo, fish and fish products, groundnut, cashew nuts, sesame seeds to enable us to earn foreign exchange to be able to pay for imported items from Turkey as without FX international trade cannot be financed.”
Added to it, he said the new board of GCCI will always want to encourage such engagement “and also want the business community from Turkey to be informed that a new business council has just been inaugurated for a three-year team tasked with responsibilities to identifying sectors for business in Turkey and the Gambia.”
This team, he reiterated, will serve as an entry point for anyone who wanted to do business both in the Gambia and Turkey while plans are on the way for a visit to Turkey for further discussions.
Muhammad Bahceli, Director of Alumet Group in Turkey explained the significance of the business forum which he said has exposed the visiting Turkey Business Council to different business opportunities.
He said the Gambia needs lots of things and said “it is good that I attend the business forum to know more about the needs of the country.”
He said not just everything “but materials of good quality, good price will bring good sales and as well open ways to the success of the business community of the two countries.”
Some video presentations of different businesses from Turkey were aired at the forum.
Bubacarr Saho, Director for Business Development and Programs of the GCCI expressed delight over the Gambia/Turkey Business Council meeting while affirming it is very good to sensitize the Gambia business community to make use of this good business opportunity “to establish business relations.”
He said the issue is not only by importing their goods to the country but also exporting goods from The Gambia to Turkey to add value.