By Ismaila Sonko
July 16, 2021
The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretariat has mobilised nearly US$200 million to implement infrastructural projects that will meaningfully transform the lives of Gambians.
This was disclosed by the Vice President, Dr. Isatou Touray, Wednesday, during the OIC Gambia Stakeholders National Convergence at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre in Bijilo.
She said the development projects will not only boost commercial activities, but also improve Gambia’s urban outlook, advance the standard of living, create employment as well as enhance the country’s regional competitiveness in many ways.
She reminded the gathering that The Gambia will host the 2022 OIC Heads of State and Governments, which is the second-largest inter-governmental gathering of world leaders after the United Nations General Assembly.
VP Touray further stated that to ensure a successful event and put the country on the World Map, the government established and tasked the Gambia OIC Secretariat with three fundamental objectives, such as to mobilise resources needed for a successful event, coordinate the implementation of infrastructural projects to afford guests an unforgettable experience and better the lives of everyone in the country, ensure proper event planning, organising, and management of the Summit itself.
“The government of President Barrow views the OIC venture as a legacy project that would stand to benefit Gambians of all creeds and colour for several decades to come as well as form the basis to build better in the future,” she said.
VP Touray averred that the value proposition of the projects, which is to make the experience of life better for everyone, motivated the president to sit at the helm of the OIC Board to ensure high-level coordination, full government support, and efficient and timely delivery.
“I am happy to know that the implementation of the various project components is well underway and at advanced stages. I have been assured that the Secretariat and its implementing partners are handling the projects with utmost priority in a diligent manner,” she added.
She noted that the public is anxious about seeing the physical commencement of some aspects, particularly the road construction, and admitted that this is understandable due to the daily traffic hassle that most people face.
VP Isatou Touray informed the gathering that evaluation of bids in respect to the expansion of the Bertil Harding Highway and the construction of the 50KM/urban road network has been done and the reports sent to the donors for approval.
Her words: “Contractors have started drilling boreholes as part of the Rehabilitation of Water and Sanitation Network project; Design of the VIP presidential lounge at the Airport have been finalised; The dates for laying the foundation stone for the Five Star Hotel are being discussed; We are on track for sending another batch of security officers to Turkey for high-level training.”
She described the gathering as another major milestone achievement in the efforts of the Secretariat and the government by extension, to host a successful OIC Heads of State Summit in the country, adding that the National Convergence marks the turning point in the Secretariat’s drive to organise a memorable summit that would reflect Gambia’s national diversity and common heritage.
The vice president also assured that the government, under President Barrow’s leadership, will continue to prioritise OIC matters and shall accord the consolidated OIC budget with all the support it needs.