Message from the Ambassador
Liberalized and open economies create growth which in turn creates enormous opportunities for American companies to find markets for their products and to invest. This is happening in many African nations as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted during her trip to Senegal in 2012. She said, “If you want to make a good investment in the midst of what is still a very difficult global economy, go to Africa.”
Africa is one of the world’s last global economic frontiers. The Gambia’s tourism sector is an example of this growth. Catering to primarily European clientele, officials report an across-the-board jump of nearly ten percent over last year. The Government of The Gambia is working towards harnessing the economic power of its expanding tourism market and extending Gambia’s potential in others. By providing incentives for both local and foreign investors, enshrined in the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Act 2010, and no formal restrictions on private sector investment, opportunities are emerging in agricultural production, processing and packaging, renewable energy, petroleum exploration, distribution networks through Banjul’s centrally located port, and import/export of foodstuffs and retail.
The Gambia has not taken full advantage of preferential access to U.S. markets under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Despite this, it is more than evident that Gambians have an insatiable thirst for American goods and services and many would buy “Made in USA” goods if offered a choice. There is an ardent desire at every level of government and society to see more American companies in The Gambia. This makes the country a ready market opening for American companies that are either considering setting up shop in Africa or are looking for dealers and distributors for their products.
In support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and other strategic policy initiatives, my colleagues at Embassy Banjul and I will continue to advance these objectives through our promotion of an open environment for trade and investment; improved economic governance; an expansion of Gambian capacity to effectively access and benefit from global markets; and encouraging mutually beneficial partnerships between U.S. and Gambian companies.
Edward M. Alford
U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia