The COVID-19 pandemic triggered unprecedented socio-economic challenges in The Gambia. Small businesses are affected through production constraints, supply chain disruptions and marketing challenges. Wholesale and retail trade accounts for a third of the Gambian economy. The transport and storage subsector is also critical for the efficient functioning of the wider economy linking production with consumption and ensuring the provision of essential goods and services.
Young Gambian entrepreneurs are already providing valuable services in the logistics and transport sector that help cope with the impact of the crisis. To further facilitate the distribution of products and essentials goods, the European Union funded Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) is handing over equipment to Gambian entrepreneurs. The support includes 8 Tricycles, 5 solar-powered Tricycles, and 13 bicycles to five logistics companies as well as the Young Poultry Farmers Association. The five logistics companies have been selected based on their potential for growth and in particular for creating jobs for young Gambians. They include Farm Fresh, Yonima Errands, Tostito, Navig8 Solutions (Fatfat), Dex logistic company and Young Poultry Farmers Association.
Jariatou Jallow, CEO of Yonima Errands affirmed that "We are grateful to the European Union in the Gambia and the Youth Empowerment Project for the continued support and commitment to supporting Gambian entrepreneurs. This will help us increase our supply chain and address market disruption challenges caused by the COVID-19" The European Union Ambassador in The Gambia, Atilla Lajos, stated: "The e-solar tricycles is part of our efforts to promote environmentally friendly solutions to the transport challenges in The Gambia. We will continue to support Gambian youth through YEP and other Tekki Fii partners to grow and create jobs for others".
The initiative directly supports the private sector to create jobs and generate income for young Gambians. Boosting the growth of the transport and logistic companies is expected to benefit the wider economy. The equipment support includes the provision of e-bikes, an environmentally friendly solution to the transport challenges in The Gambia. These 5 solar powered tricycles will emit less greenhouse gases and air pollutants over their lifespan than traditional engine tricycles. Also, this is in line with the European Union’ s climate action globally and in particular its support to a green Gambia.