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Gambia Business Guide

Business Directory
Importers & Exporters
Exporting From Overseas:
When shipping and clearing goods destined for Banjul Port in The Gambia there are certain rules, regulations and the payment of customs & excise duties.

For those intent on starting a business one could register as a company or sole trader which involves fairly straight forward procedures however, you are advised to use the services of a lawyer in the case of companies.

For large investments such as a factory, a plantation etc. you may want to use the services of the country's investment agency called Giepa. To establish a beach bar or hotel, lodge or other type of accommodation you will need to contact the Gambia Tourism Authority.

It maybe useful to know that there are a number of business consultants who are able to provide market research services.

Please note that with regard to defence armaments there is an Ecowas Moratorium on the Import, Export and Manufacture of Light Weapons which affects Gambia.

Office Opening Hours:
Government hours 8 am to 4 pm
Business hours 9 am to 5 pm
Friday is half-day closing 12.30 pm

  The Basics Within the Country:
Despite many imponderables there are a few practical tips and cultural protocols related to doing business in The Gambia for the prospective investor, importer / exporter.

Pace of Activity:
Commerce and trade moves a lot slower in the Gambia so you must apply some patience in all your business dealings. Firstly, when you meet someone to discuss business you should go through the greeting ritual first without seeming to rush it. After this you can get down to talking. Keep any interruptions short and down to a minimum while another person is speaking.

In Gambia the business concept of "time is money" is approached in a very relaxed and flexible manner. People do not rush through business negotiations and often do not take the time to plan everything in great detail. Punctuality is not always observed, as businessmen do not like to feel hurried and do not have the western sense of urgency. A good idea is to call people on the phone just before leaving for your meeting.

Many Gambians pray five times a day and in some workplaces separate rooms are set aside for this. There are however varying degrees to which Islam influences Gambian business culture, but it is essential to remember its influence when working with your counterparts in Banjul.

Working Relationships:
Business relationships are based on trust and familiarity. Personal contacts and networks are important in making business deals. Cultivating friendships will improve your success in the business community.

Society places a great emphasis on age and respect. You must always show respect towards elders in society.

If you do not agree with your business partner try to say it in a way that it will come across as non-confrontational.

Other thoughts & notes:
A lot of business is done outside the office.

Since 2003 substantial infrastructural progress has been made (such as the construction of new roads, street lighting, schools and hospitals. International aid remains essential to the country.

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