The EIF has implemented four projects with The Gambia, including institutional capacity work with USD 1,500,000 in support and sector-focused efforts in the female-dominated sesame and cashew industries.
Former EIF Board Member and Policy Director for Trade Negotiations with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Benedicte Fleischer said at the launch, "I note in the greater field of trade policy that The Gambia has presented its notification to the World Trade Organization of how it is planning to fulfil all the trade facilitation obligations, of which this is a practical picture of what is to come. And that is showing that The Gambia is moving forward. And this leads me to... how important it is to have an open economy and to make use of the trade opportunities to develop the economy, in your case for the benefit of all Gambians."
The facility in Banjul is expected to reduce handling times by as much as 50 percent through the combination of improved infrastructure, packaging standards, better trained airport staff and increased services to small- and medium-sized enterprises. A new scanner will allow large pallets to be easily prepped in accordance with International Air Transport Association safety standards, and which will speed up the export process.
"Through this cargo complex, trade facilitation in the Gambia will not only be enhanced by increasing capacity at the GIA and Banjul International Airport but will directly enable small- and medium-sized exporters to access services of GIA at competitive rates," said Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment Ministry Permanent Secretary Naffie Barry.
All these boosts will help facilitate the country's trade and it is hoped will lure increased private sector investment.
"I believe that if all actors come together and work accordingly with full commitment, this complex could play a contributing role in supporting private sector development, particularly small-scale investors, women and aspiring young entrepreneurs to improve their livelihoods, contribute to GDP and employment creation and benefit from greater access to bigger regional and international markets," Tambajang said in her speech at the launch.