I am particularly delighted to formally launch "The Gambia Incorporated......... Vision 2020" which is an expression by the Gambian people of their aspirations and socio-economic development strategy for the period 1996-2020.
The concept of "The Gambia Inc." is very significant. First and foremost, it is the recognition of the creative spirit of the private individuals as a catalyst towards the achievement of the common good. Secondly "The Gambia Inc." seeks to empower the people in order for them to realise their fullest potentials in a free and competitive environment. Vision 2020 postulates that all Gambians, wherever they are and all foreigners residing in The Gambia, will contribute positively to national development and will enjoy fully the fruits of such development. Like shareholders in a joint-stock company, the success of The Gambia Inc. depends on the effective participation of all stakeholders. Third, it is also recognition of the limitation of Government's role solely to the correction of market failures and the provision of public goods which cannot be produced by the private sector.
Coming after the massive privatisation campaign of Government in the past few years, "The Gambia Inc." is a clear testimony of Government's recognition of the private sector as a serious partner in national development and the very engine of growth. By launching "The Gambia Inc..... Vision 2020"; Government is formally reconfirming its pro-private sector stance. Government is inviting the private sector to play fully its role and to collaborate effectively with the public sector to ensure the attainment of the development objectives of Vision 2020.
By the same token, I am urging Government department and officials at all levels to adopt a more supportive attitude towards the private sector. It is only through an effective and friendly collaboration between the public and the private sectors that the long-term aspirations of this country can be attained.
The overall orientation of Vision 2020 is contained in its mission statement.
"To transform The Gambia into a financial centre, a tourist paradise, a trading, export-oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector, sustained by a well-educated, trained, skilled, healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population and guaranteeing a well-balanced eco- system and a decent standard of living for one and all under a system of government based on the consent of the citizenry."
The Gambia's choice of economic ideology is clear- it is based on free market principles. Within this framework, a development strategy that is human-centred and export-oriented has been adopted. This means that the production base of the economy will be strengthened and diversified to cater for the needs of an export-oriented industry. In pursuit of pragmatism, Vision 2020 will build on the sound macro-economic policies of our recent past while launching a new partnership contract between the public and private sectors to spur faster growth with equity. Simultaneously, a new diplomatic drive will ensure good and fruitful neighbourliness with both regional governments and other government further afield in addition to maintaining dialogue and co-operation with development partners.
Finally, the attainment of the objectives of Vision 2020 depends on the serious commitment of each and every stakeholder. In this regard, Government solicits the fullest and unwavering support of everyone, so that together we make the Gambia a better place to work and to live in.