The Gambia Implements UNCTAD IPR

The Gambian Government aims to increase the Foreign Direct Investment in the country. It also wants to develop entrepreneurship for job creation. The country aims to achieve Sustainable Development Goals through the implementation of UNCTAD's Investment Policy Review (IPR) of The Gambia. The African nation also wants to put in place a sustainable National Entrepreneurship Policy or NEP. Both of these schemes were presented on Tuesday.

Crossing hurdles

The Gambia, along with a number of other similar Least Developed Countries shares a number of features that inhibit the creation of jobs and growth of the national economy. These include energy shortages and poor transportation. The Gambia is a country in which about 75 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture. The country is susceptible to climate-linked shocks. Exports may also suffer due to fluctuations in price. Such features, linked with a number of years of uncertainty in policies, contributed to a weak public sector. FDI flows were also unsatisfactory. It became negative in 2016.  James Zhan, the Director of UNCTAD, Investment and Enterprise Division, said that there has been a subsequent improvement in the services sector. He specifically mentioned telecommunications, tourism, and financial services. He went on to say that both the NEP and the IPR will make a contribution to the efforts made by the government to business climate reform. They will develop local capacities so that SDGs are duly achieved. The path towards these can be guided by examples of success achieved by other countries in Africa and Asia.

Beating regulations

The regulatory environment of The Gambia was assessed by IPR as businesses are affected by this factor. Recommendations were then set so that it improves. It is proposed by the report that there should be a transparency of the many laws that affect investors. This report also provides a recommendation of reinforcing the resources so that they could be implemented. It also offers a way to reduce government interference in the business operations.

If The Gambia is successful in its efforts to attract more FDI and also support its own businesses, then there could be substantial economic growth. Jobs could also be created in the emerging sectors. These include ICT. The NEP, in order to reap maximum benefits from FDI, has called for all measures to foster development of medium, small, and micro enterprises.  Isatou Topuray, the Trade and Industry minister, and who is also responsible for employment, expressed optimism for the prospects for his country.

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