MSME Forum of Stakeholders
Despite the significant contribution of the MSME sector and its unexploited potential it continues to demonstrate, there has never been a national policy document on the development of the MSMEs. They were merely part of a blanket policy that was to cater for all operators within the private sector. However, recently, this oversight has been acknowledged and addressed as evident by the formulation of the country’s first MSME policy in 2008, and the recent enactment of the GIEPA Act 2010. This new policy has a coherent action programme with a clear institutional mandate for its implementation. The mandate of the Gambia Investment and Export promotion Agency (GIEPA) includes enterprise support and development, and a specialized department has recently been established to execute this mandate.
To pave the way forward for its coordinated implementation of the policy, the Agency through its Enterprise Support and Development Department (ESDD) has organized an MSME stakeholders’ forum to create better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the environment and collectively agree on a way forward in addressing the challenges while simultaneously exploring the opportunities to enhance the contribution of the sector to national development. The forum accorded staff of the ESDD the opportunity to meet and familiarize themselves with the key stakeholders in The Gambia’s MSME sector and achieved the following objectives
- The introduction of the new mandate to stakeholders and meaningful engagements with stakeholders to better understand the dynamics of the operating environment. The forum provided an opportunity to know the various stakeholders, what they are doing and how to better coordinate their activities to be in tune with the national development agenda. As a complex sector, such exchanges of experiences undoubtedly continue to facilitate the development of the sector.
- Raised awareness of the need for support for the development of the MSME sector which has the potential to create more jobs, generate more income and promote socio-economic development. The sector has the potential to contribute to the attainment of the objectives of the poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP II), Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) and the realization of the national development blueprint, Vision 2020.
The following outcomes were achieved by the forum
- A comprehensive update about the status of MSME policy implementation.
- Identification of various financing sources for MSME support programmes.
- Clear and streamlined terms of engagement for all stakeholders.
- Established contacts for networking.
- Share available data on registered MSMEs and small Business Associations.
- Resolutions on how to go about addressing key issues affecting MSME development in line with the policy.
- A more detailed understanding of the Problems/challenges of the MSME sector from operators’ and other support stakeholders’ perspectives.
- Creation of a general appreciation of the objectives of the MSME policy.
- Understanding of the mandate of GIEPA in the area of MSME development