By Fatoumatta K Saidykhan
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of India on the establishment of a vocational training and incubation centre.The Ministry of Trade has been coordinating the process of the establishment of the centres for vocational training and incubation under the auspices and partnership of the Indian Government and the Commission of Africa Union (AU).
Speaking at the signing ceremony, held at the Ministry’s conference room in Banjul, Hon. Abdoulie Jobe, the minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment disclosed that the Government of India and the Commission of African Union (AU) agreed on a proposal on pan-African Projects for the establishment of India-Africa vocational training and incubation centres to realise the commitment made at the Indian-African Forum Summit (IAFS-1) held in New Delhi in April 2008.
The African Union therefore, he added informed the Government of India that one of the projects will be located in The Gambia to serve as a regional centre for English speaking West African countries in recognition of the need for development of entrepreneurship, small industries and also promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), with a view to leveraging capacities and opportunities for both parties.
According to him, the scope of the project involves setting up a vocational training and incubation centres in The Gambia and to provide initial training to local trainers in order to make available qualified pool of training of trainers (TOTs). “The implementing agency for the Government of India is the National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC), who is mandated to carry out a feasibility study for setting up the vocational training centre and incubation centres and subsequently submit a detailed project report which including details of the plant and machinery, equipment, consumables, raw materials etc required for setting up the vocational training centre and incubation centres”, he revealed.
The Trade minister noted that the same agency is to supply the project with machineries, equipment, and initial supply of raw materials and also carry out the installation and commissioning of project by Indian experts as detailed in the project report. He added that they are to carry out training of the local trainers before handing over the centres to the Gambia Government.
Jobe intimated that other responsibilities of the agency include providing warranty support services for the equipment for a period of 12 months from the date of commissioning or 18 months from the date of shipment of the plant and machinery, and also provide free of charge consultancy for the operations of vocational training and incubation centres for 3 years after establishment. Minister Jobe informed that the responsibility of The Gambia Government is to ensure complete support to the project, nominate a national project coordinator and set up a taskforce of experts in relevant fields under the national project coordinator.
Satvinder Singh of the National Small Industries Corporation of India expressed delight for witnessing the signing of the MoU to set up a vocational training centre in The Gambia.
Other speaking included Jahu Faal, the director general, Gambia Technical Training Institute and Alieu Secka of GCCI. They expressed similar sentiments.