Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The Entrepreneurship Promotion and Micro Finance Development Project (EPMDP) is an integral part of the government’s poverty reduction strategy programme, the Director of Loans and Debt Management Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs said.
“It provides support to various activities ranging from fisheries, rice production, livestock, skills training, entrepreneurship development and provision of micro financing to women and youths,” Mr. Mod Ceesay said at the customized training for EPMDP and Social Development Fund (SDF) staff at the Kairaba Beach Hotel on Monday 24th May 2010.
According to him, the project is an employment creation initiative for the poor and helps alleviates poverty and improve their lives thereby contributing towards the welfare of Gambians.
He recalled that in 2006 the Africa Development Bank (ADB) provided financial support to the Government of The Gambia through a grant of UA 8 million; equivalent to 320, 000,000.00 Gambia Dalasis for the financing of the Entrepreneurship Promotion and Microfinance Development Project (EPMDP).
He noted that the contribution of the Government of The Gambia towards this project is UA 0.8 million, equivalent to about 32,000, 000 Dalasis, the total cost of the project being approximately D352, 000, 000.00.
He said the goal of the project is to contribute to the reduction of poverty in a sustainable way through support to the diversification of rural income generation sources and provision increased access to financial services. “It is being implemented at macro, meso and micro levels covering all the regions in The Gambia, including the Greater Banjul Area.”
He explained that at Macro Level, the project supports the development and operation of national policies; at the Meso level, it supports the strengthening of the capacity of several institutions including government institutions, the Non-Bank Financial Institutions and skills training institutions; and at the Micro level it provides support to entrepreneurship and skills training and access to micro finance for the economic empowerment of women, men and youths.
He added that by the end of its five years implementation period, the EPMDP intends to reach 24,000 women, men and youth through this combined effort.
The project, which is an employment creation initiative for the poor, is aimed at helping to alleviate poverty and improve lives thereby contributing towards the welfare of Gambians.
One of the key performance benchmarks of the grant is staff development through staff training and in response to this; he said the EPMDP conducted a training needs assessment (TNA) of the SDF and EPMDP staff in 2009, the outcome of which is a comprehensive training plan addressing the training needs of staff.
He also noted that TNA shows that about 90 percent of the staff has no experience in project management, prompting the project to focus on areas of Strategic and Results Based Management, Project Management and Monitoring and Evaluation.
“This skills and proficiency are useful for the effective implementation of the project,” he admitted.