Last week, four senior officials from The Gambia, led by Ms. Naffie Barry, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, were in Geneva to discuss further the findings of the latest Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) prepared by UNCTAD.
In 2007, The World Bank conducted The Gambia’s first Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS), which proposed, among other things, trade policy reforms and the mainstreaming of trade in national development strategy.
At the beginning of 2012, the Gambian Government requested UNCTAD to take the lead in updating the first DTIS and propose ways in which The Gambia could deepen its regional and global trade and improve value addition and processing in key sectors of the economy.
The updated DTIS identifies and discusses the key impediments to trade in The Gambia, such as the tax system, energy constraints, in particular electricity, low productivity, absence of reliable trade statistics necessary for effective policy analysis, the need to enhance the role of women in trade, and the imperative of better and more effective regional integration.
The overall message of the study is that The Gambia should adopt what UNCTAD calls an “integrated approach” to policy-making. UNCTAD believes that such an approach provides a more holistic view of trade strategy formulation.
One of the objectives of last week’s meeting was to identify concrete capacity-building activities that could be implemented immediately. EIF has a two-tier funding – Tier 1 supports the diagnostic study and in-country national implementation arrangements, and the Tier 2 is used to finance concrete technical cooperation activities in the country.