by ITC News

(Banjul) – Young Gambian entrepreneurs now have a chance of winning grants up to GMD 500,000 to implement innovative solutions to address socioeconomic challenges to Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) caused by COVID-19.

KMC in partnership with the European Union funded Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) launched the KMC Mayor GMD1 Million Challenge to support young innovative entrepreneurs with smart and effective solutions to help address the challenges caused by COVID-19.

The Challenge Fund is specifically designed to tackle three major problems prevalent in KMC as a result of COVID-19. These are market distortions and closure of non-essential shops, reduction in public transportation revenue, and learning disruptions due to the closure of schools.

Lord Mayor of KMC, Talib Ahmed Bensouda said "Youth have always been at the core of innovation in society. The KMC Mayor's Challenge ‘Andandorr-Tekki Fii initiative’ in partnership with YEP and GCCI seeks to leverage on youths' ingenuity to solve present day challenges faced in the era of COVID-19".

The European Union is sponsoring the Fund through YEP. EU Ambassador to the Gambia Attila Lajos mentioned that concerted efforts are required to overcome the current crisis. ““The European Union stands in solidarity and unity with The Gambia and its people and is pleased to support home-made solutions that can make a difference. With this challenge, we want to give young Gambian entrepreneurs the opportunity to come up with innovative solutions. As you know, we at the EU in particular think that digitization can make a difference and we strongly promote it!”.

The Challenge Fund is supported by Gambian business development service providers through the Andandorr programme with GCCI as the lead partner. "The present COVID-19 emergency is a huge challenge to all our livelihoods especially micro small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs). With this challenge, KMC, YEP and all partners, wish to seize the opportunity to stimulate our youth, prove that we can also be forward looking in finding solutions." said Alieu Secka, CEO of GCCI.

The International Trade Centre (ITC), is the implementing agency of the Youth Empowerment Project. Fatou Mbenga Jallow, YEP Project Coordinator stressed that the communities face unprecedented challenges. However, these challenges also provide opportunity to accelerate and leapfrog in our development process. The ITC remains committed in supporting The Gambia during the crisis and recovery. Subject to the outcome of this pilot focusing on challenges in KMC, the EU, ITC and partners may scale the challenge fund in other regions.

This challenge is open to young Gambian entrepreneurs aged between 15-35 years with a registered business or in partnership with a registered business. This is also open to social entrepreneurs and NGOs as well. Applications presenting innovative solutions should be sent to yep@intracen.org accompanied by a technical and financial proposal.

Notes for the Editor

About The Kanifing Municipal Council – KMC is the biggest municipality in terms of economic size in the country. For the effective operation of the Council’s day to day running, the CEO is the chief accounting officer of the Council. Under the CEO are a team of directors (Admin, Finance, Planning & Development, Internal audit, Inspectorate and social services) as per the local Government act of 2002 and the Finance & Audit act of 2004. Under each department are managers who head units. The managers are supported by a team of field staff who are the main community interface.

57 Mamadi Manyang highway Kanifing Municipality, The Gambia, PO Box 2039, Serrekunda www.kanifing.gm Twitter: @publickmc Facebook. Kanifing Municipal Council

About GCCI - Founded in 1967, born out of a merger between the Bathurst Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture, and Employers’ Association. (GCCI) is a non-profit membership organisation which facilitate business development, promotes trade, and advances the interest of the Gambian business nationally and intentionally. GCCI provides vital business services and opportunities to its members for them to be informed successful ventures. It is recognized as an authoritative voice for the Gambia Private Sector investment by the government of The Gambia and regional and international bodies.

Kerr Jula, Bertil Harding Highway, Bijilo, West Coast Region Office +(220) 4463452 Mobile: +(220) 7329987 / 3655850 Email: info@gcci.gm

About YEP – the project is part of the Tekki Fii Program, a flagship initiative of the Government of The Gambia with the aim to reduce migration pressures through increased job opportunities and income prospects for youth. YEP takes a marked-driven approach and enhances employability and self-employment opportunities for youth, with a focus on vocational training and the creation of micro and small-sized enterprises. At the same the project creates and improves employment opportunities in selected sectors through value addition and market linkages. YEP focuses a number of traditional sectors such as agriculture and tourism. The project also helps diversify the Gambian economy by supporting ‘new’ sectors, including the creative and digital services industries. YEP is funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. For more information, please visit: http://www.yep.gm

Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Sait Matty Road, Bakau, The Gambia Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yepgambia/

Abdoulie Badjie, Media & Communications Officer – YEP Tel. +220 3900088 I abadjie@intracen.org I yep@intracen.org

About the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa – The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) supports all aspects of stability and contributes to addressing destabilization, forced displacement and irregular migration in particular by promoting resilience, economic and equal opportunities, security and development, and the improvement and implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. The EUTF aims at improving living conditions in Africa. It seeks to help people live in a peaceful and stable environment, and to work in dignity. EUTF projects worth 38 million Euros are currently under implementation in The Gambia. For more information, visit https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/ and facebook.com/EUinTheGambia

About ITC The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit www.intracen.org


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