French companies seek opportunities in New Gambia

French companies seek opportunities in New Gambia

A French investment consortium with 30 companies based in neighboring Senegal has arrived in Gambia to look into possible areas of investments.

Bruno Paret, administrator general at SENEMECA met with Gambia’s Foreign Secretary Ousainou Darboe in Banjul.

“We have come with famous French companies based in Senegal… We came with lots of specialties in different sectors like insurance, construction, energy, services and we are sure that there are lots of things to do and to help develop The Gambia,” Paret told journalists after meeting with Darboe.

The French businesses already met with some key players in Gambia’s energy sector, including NAWEC, civil aviation authorities and some fishing companies.

Gambia is struggling with energy insufficiency for long and its national energy supplier, NAWEC, is in huge debt and inefficient.

“We have companies that are specialized in energy and mechanics… We have already held meetings with NAWEC and Airport and some fishing companies,” Paret said.

The investors, who are from 11 different companies under the SENEMECA consortium were led in the country by the French ambassador in Dakar and Charbel N Elhajj, retired French investment broker.

“We are here to look into different investment areas in Gambia… We have met with Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency officials and we will be making different sectorial visits to different ministries for investors to see first-hand investment opportunities in Gambia,” Charbel said.

Barrow defeated Jammeh in a December election, ending a long rule that human rights groups say was marred by torture and murder of political opponents. Jammeh was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January.

He left the economy saddled with over $1 billion in debt — more than Gambia’s annual economic output — hobbling ordinary government functions.

But foreign aid that had been stopped under Jammeh is coming back, a mark of confidence in the democratically elected government.

The European Union, which had frozen its assistance after Jammeh’s government outlawed homosexuality in late 2014, promised Gambia a 75 million euro (£63.8 million) aid package in February.

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