Manufacturing activities are limited to small and medium-scale enterprises producing mainly for the domestic market. There are large deposits of kaolin discovered in one of the provinces (URD), titaniferous beach sands, and salt which are currently unexploded. The demand for sanitary wares and quality ceramic tiles are currently met through imports. Investment in a foundry that uses scrap metals for the production of finished-iron and metal plates required in the construction industry and small-scale repair workshops, offers good opportunity. Similarly, light pharmaceutical industry and light engineering for manufacturing and assembling of electrical and mechanical components for domestic appliances and repair workshops, are considered to be potential areas of investment.
Due to its strategic location and competitive prices, manufacturing sector in the Gambia enjoys export opportunities to the sub-regional markets. Already, plans are under-way for the establishment of an industrial estate with factory cells and the Islamic Development Bank has been approached for financing, the project's feasibility study.
In recent times the Gambia is getting increasingly popular as a location for shooting films by producers of the sub-region, especially Nigerians and Ghanaians. However, most of the films shot in the country are realized by non-Gambian producers, directors, and already popular actors/actresses from Nigeria to leverage the films in the international market.
Young Gambian entrepreneurs and investors should make use of these investment opportunities through learning and join the value chain of the entertainment business. You will be surprised that some Gambians are doing well in this sector. Let me share few stories of the movies personalities that relates to the Gambia.
• 2011 Award-winning movie “Mirror boy” was shot in the Gambia and England but written, produced and directed by non-Gambians. There were very few Gambian actors and actresses in the movie, but the main actors/actress were Nigerians.
• Ebou Waggeh, the CEO of WAX Media once served as a judge in the first phase of MNET initiative, to award excellence in African filmmaking (Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards). He can tell you how many Gambians or Gambian movies were nominated in such platform. Maybe one, Fatim Jabbie, a Gambian Sierreloenean.
• Princess Shyingle a Gambian actress based in Ghana has been featured in a number of top rated movies and TV series in the sub-region. She has worked and acted with Ghanaian and Nigerian actors and she recently started to produce her own movies.
3. Retail and Consumer market
With over 50% of Gambia population between the ages of 15-55, Gambia’s youthful market is yet another opportunity to serve the retail market. Most retail shops specialize in groceries, household and electrical appliances with no proper parking space for customers. Apart from the support of Julabaa store, most of the retail stores in the Gambia has no website to sell their stocks online.
Gambians will definitely turn to any mall or shopping center that can provide grocery shops, pharmacy, restaurant, playground and even the cinema latest movies. One shop for all our needs. Mall of Gambia and Kairaba Shopping Centre are few of the biggest shops in town, but there’s still a lot of room in Gambia’s retail market. You will probably understand me when you visit Shoprite in Lagos or Accra Mall in Ghana. As at the time of writing this article, Sahel Invest is developing Senegambia Industrial Estate and Business Park. We hope that will come to our aid.
Tourism sector continues to play a dominant role in the Gambia's economic development process. The sector provides employment opportunities as well as enhances foreign exchange earnings for the country. The estimated average daily expenditure for tourist for the period under review, was D300.00, and gross earnings was estimated at D432.00 million. The number of hotel beds was 5070 for 22 hotels operating- during this period.
The government is committed to an orderly development and expansion of the sector to include cultural and eco-tourism in order to maximize the benefits from tourism. In this regard, the expansion of infrastructures to designated tourism development areas including natural forest parks, land marks and monuments of cultural significance, are considered under the sector's development strategy.
There are number of hotel development projects seeking for joint venture and/or financing including, construction of 5 Star hotels, bar and restaurants, and recreation facilities. Investments in airline operations linking the Gambia and the targeted destinations have greater potentials and will give impetus to the growth and development of the Gambian tourism industry.
5. Television and radio services
Gambia has only one television station, the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS). It broadcast various programs in English and local languages. However, national TV station can hardly meet the diverse entertainment and educational needs of the youthful population. Young people need television stations that air celebrity trends, sport, independent experts discussing the impact of new government policies, etc. Think of a private TV station that will focus on promoting Gambian fashion, movies, etc.