The British High Commission hosted a forum led by VSO and Barclays Bank on Tuesday 3 September at the UK-US Business Centre on Karaiba Avenue. The forum brought together leading business and development professionals to discuss ways in which Government, NGOs and the Private Sector could work together to strengthen small and medium sized enterprises in The Gambia as a way of reaching development goals.
The event was hosted by the British High Commissioner, Mr David Morley, and was attended by the Permanent Secretary for Trade, Mrs Naffie Barry, representatives from the UNDP, World Bank, GCCI, GIEPA and Standard Chartered. Dr. Sal Buckler who is the lead researcher for the VSO/Barclays Partnership spoke at the forum.
The VSO-Barclays Partnership was founded in 2002. The partnership aims to join the business and financial expertise of Barclays with the local expertise of VSO to help create sustainable development opportunities that improve the economic development of young people. Barclays is a British multinational banking and financial services company and is one of the world’s largest banks.
The Forum discussed the current work that VSO is doing in The Gambia, funded through the World Bank, to improve the groundnut sector by placing business and financial experts to improve aspects of the groundnut value chain. The aim is to help improve the productivity and profitability of the sector. VSO plans to expand on this work by developing partnerships with the private sector to improve the participation and engagement of young Gambians in the development of their country.
Participants discussed how partnerships between private sector, donor agencies and NGOs can be supported to foster development and also how new systems of financing could be mobilised. The participants agreed to create a working group that would meet regularly to take these initiatives forward.
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