Gambia: Bankers, Private Sector Hopeful On Asf Economic Transformation

3 November 2023

The Gambia's private sector and Bankers Association are optimistic about the African Solidarity Fund's (ASF) economic transformative agenda after a detailed oversight and fruitful convergence held on Thursday at Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and at Coco Ocean.

Jean Berchmans Nkurunziza, central director in charge of Strategy and Operations at ASF, enlightened members of the private sector that ASF is a Pan-African financial institution specialised in promoting access to finance. He added that access to finance is dedicated mainly to the private sector, saying that in their call of mission, the private sector is the second key after the government.

Jean stated that ASF was founded in 1975 and began its operations in 1979. In 2015, he said the organisation decided to extend to all African countries and in that context; they invited all African countries, including The Gambia to join the organisation.

Speaking in a related but seperate activity with bankers at Coco Ocean, Jean stated: "The relationship between the ASF and the banks is crucially important in the financial landscape and our partnership plays a critical role in supporting the economic and financial development of our member countries. As the guarantee fund, our fundamental mission as ASF is to facilitate access to finance for companies, entrepreneurs, public entities, and governments among others."

He further reiterated that bankers are at the head of the process while emphasising that the expertise, resources and commitment to their client's success are key to driving our economy. Over the few years in its member countries, he added that the partnership between guarantors and banks have evolved in strength. He said they work hand-in-hand to overcome economic and financial challenges while maintaining an environment of trust for borrowers.

Allan Kinuka, Business Development Officer of ASF in Charge of The Gambia, stated that their vision is to become, by 2025, a strong and innovative Pan-African institution at the service of the structural transformation of member states' economies.

Dwelling on their mechanisms of intervention, he said that guarantees offered by the ASF include bank loans, guarantees for raising resources (financial markets), portfolio guarantees, coverage of public contracts (construction, delivery and services), and import-export operations coverage.

Sarata Conateh, Chief Executive Officer of GCCI, expressed delight while thanking members of the private sector for gracing the occasion to explore other avenues of accessing finance. At the level of GGI, she explained that every time they do a survey, access to finance becomes one of the key challenges for doing business in the country.

Nnamdi Anozil, Vice President of the Bankers Association of The Gambia, assured of the association's commitment, saying they were thrilled taking into account the mission and vision of the organisation.

He said: "Going by ASF's good work in other countries, we don't have any doubt and we will take advantage to ensure that we move forward, move the lives of the people and the standard of the financial institution of the country."

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