GCCI, EU launched a project to promote investment, culture, creative arts and sports
By Arfang M.S. Camara
The Gambia chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) have today (Tuesday) signed a project partnership with the European Union (EU) to promote Investments in Culture, Creative Arts and Sports to Enhance resilience against Climate Change in Local Communities.
This partnership is aimed to support the production of innovative handicrafts and promote fair labour conditions and also promote traditional wrestling as cultural heritage with the creation of a network of wrestling training clubs and use wrestling as a tool to create solidarity amongst communities.
Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of the project are The Gambia Wrestling Association and Gaye Njoro Skills Academy.
Speaking during the ceremony, EU Ambassador in The Gambia, H.E Attila Lajos said that their partnership with the GCCI is timely as it highlights the importance of the Gambian identity and its traditions.
He noted the first action of the project seeks to help local artisans to work with European artisans and be linked to the EU market and local tourist industry, adding that this component is essential as it will enhance product diversification and quality the handicraft market needs.
“The second component of the project is also very important as since social distancing will be very difficult to keep while wrestling, promotion of this activity will be put on hold as long as the pandemic is among us.”
The EU ambassador also revealed that the third component of the project aims at developing a new regulatory environment to promote arts, culture and sports, adding that it is important to provide an enabling business environment in order to facilitate cultural diversity, artistic creation and business activities in the cultural sector.
“The unprecedented pandemic is causing dramatic damages on economies worldwide. The Gambia is unfortunately not spared with its economy being highly vulnerable to external shocks. Clearly, all sectors in the country have been negatively impacted, and this situation is affecting livelihoods of thousands and thousands.”
According to him, the private sector in The Gambia is characterised with a majority of small and micro enterprises often active in the informal sector, adding that the number of jobs lost to the covid-19 crisis and its consequences are significant, especially in the tourism sector.
Alieu Secka, CEO of The Gambia chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) said that over the last years the GCCI have built a lot of capacity in project implementation and work with partners all over the world to set the highest standards of transparency and accountability that allows them to deliver projects on time in the very best manner.
For his part, Edrisa Mass Jobe, president of the GCCI said that the covid-19 pandemic revealed the state of poverty in the Gambia, noting that the pandemic also revealed how vulnerable the Gambia’s economy is.
“This is not only in terms of the sizes of the GDP but the country’s economy is not diversified. It depends on two important things which are all very vulnerable such as on tourism and remittances.”
According to him, these two things constituted almost 50% of the Gambia’s GDP, noting that these are the two important areas that are heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the representative of the two beneficiaries of the project Gaye Njoro Skills Academy and Gambia Wrestling Association both thanked the European Union and Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the support and said that this project will greatly help them in their quest to develop their organisations.