By Landing Ceesay
The CEO of the Gambia Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ambassador Yankuba Dibba, announced that the organization has successfully raised over $300 million through its resource mobilization endeavors.
Expressing satisfaction with the progress, he disclosed, “I am happy to announce that since our founding, the Secretariat has raised more than $300 million from our resource mobilization efforts to improve the vitality of our national economy. Similarly, all our infrastructural projects have advanced into the implementation stage.
Providing specific updates on ongoing projects, Ambassador Dibba mentioned the completion of the VVIP Presidential Lounge at the Banjul International Airport and the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center.
“The VVIP Presidential Lounge at the Banjul International Airport is complete and ready for use; the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center, which will host the meetings, has since been finished and is being used; our road projects are advancing well, particularly the Widening of the Bertil Harding project, which is about 70% complete and expected to be completed on time,” Ambassador Dibba revealed.
Ambassador Dibba emphasized that all OIC projects are not only tailored to offer a distinctive experience for summit guests but are also strategically designed to positively transform the lives and livelihoods of the Gambian populace.
Furthermore, Ambassador Dibba conveyed that their overarching principle has been to maximize the unique opportunity presented by hosting the Summit, delivering outcomes that best serve the interests of the people of the Gambia.
These updates were shared by Ambassador Dibba during a press conference on Friday, where he provided the public with insights into the ongoing preparations and recent developments related to the upcoming 15th OIC Islamic Summit scheduled to take place in the Gambia.
“In terms of the summit’s planning and management, the Secretariat and the local organizing committee are not resting on their laurels. Our structures have been meeting and coordinating regularly, culminating in the drafting and adoption of a comprehensive strategic roadmap and summit planning and management budget.
“Moreover, The Gambia OIC Secretariat and key stakeholders such as the Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been working in close collaboration with the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah, leading to the visit last year of the Secretary General of the OIC, His Excellency Hissein Brahim Taha,” he said.
In preparation for the upcoming summit, the OIC Gambia Secretariat has identified twenty new roads to be built in the Greater Banjul Area. The construction of these roads is a vital component of the project, aiming to boost the country’s infrastructure, ease traffic congestion, and promote improved communication and economic development.
A major focus of the OIC is the creation of a 22-kilometer road stretching from the Airport Junction, through Bertil Harding Highway, to Sting Corner. The development of these roads is expected to optimize traffic flow to and around the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center in anticipation of the Summit.
Addressing speculations about the Summit being relocated from the Gambia, Ambassador Dibba affirmed that the country is fully prepared to host the summit.
“As you can tell by now, the direction I am taking with the statement today is to indicate that, as far as the technical and organizational arrangements are concerned, as a country, we are ready to host the 15th OIC Islamic Summit in The Gambia. In fact, invitation letters were dispatched to member countries, with many governments responding positively.
“However, The Gambia is not an island, and issues happening around the world, particularly in the Islamic Ummah are naturally bound to affect us. Considering the Israeli Aggression and violence in the Occupied Territories of Palestinian lands, and the proximity of the just concluded joint extraordinary summit of Arab and Muslim countries in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the government of The Gambia, in consultation with the current chair, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and member countries, decided to push the date of the 15th OIC Islamic in The Gambia to the 4 – 5th of May 2024,” he told the Journalists. Ambassador Dibba underscores that rescheduling the date does not equate to a cancellation.
He clarifies that the OIC Summit in Banjul has not been canceled or relocated from The Gambia. Instead, it is slated to occur on May 4-5, 2024, in The Gambia.
Ambassador Dibba expresses that, from the Secretariat’s perspective, garnering unanimous support from the entire membership of the Islamic Ummah to postpone the Summit until May 2024 is viewed as a positive development and a significant opportunity for the country to enhance its state of preparedness.
“By May 2024, we hope that our road projects, especially the Bertil Harding highway project, will have been completed, the tourism season will have ended, giving access to more hotel rooms for the Summit, and that all our projects will have either been completed or nearing completion,” he said. Established in 2018, the Secretariat’s primary objective is to gather the necessary resources for coordinating and executing all vital programs and projects essential for the successful hosting of the 2022 OIC Heads of State Summit in The Gambia.
Among the OIC’s top decision-making entities, the Islamic Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation holds a prominent position alongside the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, Standing Committees, Executive Committee, and the International Islamic Court of Justice.
The Summit, held triennially in accordance with the OIC’s charter, is dedicated to achieving objectives outlined in the organization’s framework. It plays a pivotal role in formulating policies and adopting resolutions following each summit.