The Gambia: UNCTAD-EIF Study encourages inclusive trade policies in the fisheries sector

The Gambia: UNCTAD-EIF Study encourages inclusive trade policies in the fisheries sector

On 6th March 2014, UNCTAD and EIF published a report of a joint Study, The Fisheries Sector in The Gambia: Trade, Value Addition and Social Inclusiveness, with a Focus on Womenahead of the International Women’s Day celebrations on 8 March 2014. In marking this event, the Joint Study shows that trade policies in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have to be inclusive in addressing gender inequalities if they are to reduce poverty.

The UNCTAD-EIF report, written against the background of efforts to achieve the third Millennium Development Goal to promote gender equality and empower women, shows that women for whom fish provide a livelihood often lose out to men working in the same sector. This is reflected in the structure of The Gambia’s fishing and fish processing sector, where women are mainly concentrated in the small-scale, local trading and processing of fish, while men predominately work in the large-scale, commercial and export market.

Moreover, as the target date of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 draws closer, it is clear that a lot more remains to be done, and it has been suggested that the post­-2015 agenda should address all kinds of inequalities in a more substantive way.

The report forms part of the support that UNCTAD provided to The Gambia for the update of its Diagnostic Trade Integration Study and was carried out under part of the EIF Tier 1 project process.

“One challenge is that social issues are addressed in a different framework than economic issues and no sufficient synergies are established between the two,” Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD said. “For example, strategies for social protection should be closely linked to policies on employment, education and training. Due consideration should be given to changes in employment and welfare brought about by international trade. While there are ‘winners’ from trade liberalization, there are also ‘losers’, and their needs must also be addressed,” Dr. Kituyi added.

In the report, UNCTAD and EIF call for domestic, sub-regional and international perspectives to be carefully assessed in the light of food security, poverty alleviation and social inclusiveness.

"In The Gambia, 80 per cent of fish processors and 50 per cent of small-scale fish traders are women. Through its Diagnostic Trade Integration Study Update, The Gambia has prioritized the need to build skills of women in income-generating activities," said Mr. Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat for the EIF. "Together with the Government, we are strongly supporting a gender balanced Trade Facilitation project which aims to facilitate air cargo export of fresh horticulture and fishery products. We are also supporting the Government to leverage resources from development partners to build a sustainable and inclusive eco-friendly fishing model that puts focus on sharpening women's skills and women empowerment," Mr. Adhikari added.

As the study of The Gambia’s fisheries shows, putting in place coherent trade, infrastructure and social policies may be instrumental in achieving inclusive development and in reducing inequalities, including those based on gender. The gender perspective is key to bringing issues of sustainability and inclusion to the forefront of analysis, the study concludes.