The National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI) was established in 2004. It is under the Office of the Vice President, but given its nature of operation, made to be supervised as one of the units of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The main purpose of its establishment is to empower the Gambian youth and women, through the provision of training in business entrepreneurship, and funding them to operate businesses in the informal sector; including providing them business advice to ensure sustainability. However, NEDI also provides funding for support to activities of MOYS initiated youth farm project and the purchase produce. This programme has been sustained by NEDI receiving funding mainly from the Government of The Gambia, and other partners like GAMJOBS and Bank PHB.
This initiative of training-based investment funding of youth and women is the result of the need to create jobs for Gambian youth and women, ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of basic food commodities in The Gambia. Since its inception NEDI has spearheaded four phases of disbursement which focus on different types of businesses. The businesses range from consumer shops, tailoring workshops, restaurants, bakery, butchery and fishing boats. The number of businesses supported by NEDI is about 130 located in all Regions of the country.
. These types of businesses were selected due to their impact on poverty alleviation and the level of domination by non-Gambians in the trades.
NEDI currently has 131 beneficiaries including four fishing groups/associations formed by several individuals. These individuals have in turn created employment either directly for their employees or indirectly for others like farmers, vegetable gardeners, fish sellers / mongers, etc. These businesses have enabled the accessibility and affordability of basic commodities and services in their communities.