THE Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) led by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sarata Conatey has met with experts from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has the secretariat in Accra, Ghana.
The meeting forms part of the European Commission project “Promoting Investment In Culture, Creative Arts and Sport To Enhance Resilience Against Climate Change in the Local Community” to support the growth of the Cultural Goods and Arts sector in Gambia and its exports to the EU market.
In a release issued by the organisation, Mrs Conateh, disclosed that handicraft and traditional sports, specifically the traditional wrestling, were being leveraged to contribute to community tourism in Gambia to enhance the livelihoods and income of local craftsmen.
“The investment protocols being aimed at by the synergy between the GCCI and AfCFTA will cover support to the handicraft market, enhance trade in services and also support the regulatory protocols for the Culture and Creative Arts industry,” she said.
The Head of Trade in Services for AfCFTA, Beatrice Chaytor, who welcomed the delegation mentioned that the AFCTA was engaged in the intensive trade and services negotiation.
She said a protocol has been in existence by having a schedule of specific commitments in the Services sector.
She said further that ECOWAS has been providing community level rules that intersect with trades, services and the telecom industry.
The five priority sectors of the ECOWAS negotiations are business services, communication, financial, tourism and transport.
She explained that the tourism aspect was very present in the negotiation and that another aspect of the project that will come up for negotiation was recreational, cultural and sporting services.
Ms Chaytor stated that if Gambia was looking forward to link with AFCFTA protocols it has to be considered if the Gambia has its own AfCFTA strategy adding that “at the moment every country is being urged to establish its AFCFTA national strategy and its national committee that will oversee that strategy and how it implemented.”
Growth of the Cultural & Arts sector
The Regulatory Expert and Consultant to the project, Gibriel Bah, emphasized the importance of a harmonised regulatory framework to the growth of the Cultural & Arts sector not only in Gambia but across the ECOWAS region to maximise the sector’s contribution to the economies of the region.
The release said AfCFTA is developing the regulatory framework to enhance market access for cultural goods, among other things.
It said the protocols will also help to protect proprietary products found in particular regions.
Amongst the Gambian Delegation was the Project Consultant and Regulatory Expert, Gabriel Bah; a Trade Expert, Mohammed Saigne, Business Development Officer of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce, Chris Addy-Nayo; and the CEO of Gaye Njorro Foundation and Skills Academy in the Gambia, Mrs Fatou Saigne Gaye.
The AfCFTA was represented by the Head of Trade in Service, Beatrice Chaytor; Senior Expert Trade in Services, Desire Loumou, Expert, Trade in services, Daphine Lekipaina, and Policy and Research Officer, Trade in service division, Siobhan Sam.
The Gambian Delegation also proceeded for further engagement with the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry where they met with the Chief Executive of GCCI Mr Mark Badu-Aboagye. They also met with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana on their consultative mission.