[PRESS RELEASE] European Union strengthens the competitiveness of The Gambia
The European Union is pleased to announce the signature of a new contract with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) within the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP)
“With the accelerating number of COVID-19 cases in the country and globally, it is most likely that this crisis will continue for some time. While Team Europe has been working hard to provide a direct response to the crisis sanitary issues, the European Union is also working on the economic recovery post-pandemic.” said EU Ambassador Attila Lajos.
Government-imposed restrictions all around the world during the crisis have shown the importance of boosting local productions, small businesses formalization, regional cooperation and market linkages. Consequently, it is important to find ways to reopen economies in a calibrated approach that brings key economic sectors back into operation.
In that respect, this new project on “Increasing competitiveness through enhanced quality and compliance in the onion value chain” aims to strengthen the competitiveness of The Gambia. By improving the performance and growth of agriculture and in particular of the onion value chain, this action will stimulate its contribution into the regional and international trading system while providing support to farmer based associations, smallholders/ group producers and national quality infrastructure (NQI) institutions that are responsible for conformity assessment.
A special focus will be given to women, frequently excluded from the most profitable parts of the Value Chain.
EU Ambassador Attila Lajos further stressed that “The Gambia should take advantage of its 45% arable land and strengthen its local productions. In these difficult times, the EU is particularly supportive of this project as the development of the onion value chain will have a strong impact on household incomes. This action indeed has strong potential for import substitutions as well as exports. Subsequently, the action will contribute to job creation and growth through sub-regional value chain linkages”
The action is part of the WACOMP regional programme carried out in the ECOWAS region.
This specific intervention is budgeted with 2,350,000 EUR, i.e. some 130 million GMD and will be implemented by UNIDO. It complements another EU-funded action implemented by United Purpose (UP). UNIDO will focus on the development of export capabilities, connection to international markets, quality infrastructure, Food and Safety quality standards whereas UP will focus on MSMEs capacity building on production.