Adama Barrow yesterday laid the foundation stone of the Chinese
government-sponsored Gambia International Conference Centre at Bijilo National
The $50 million edifice, when completed and operational, would provide sitting capacity of up 1,000 conference participants, four conference halls with hundreds of sitting capacity, one VIP room, four press rooms, 14 meeting rooms, offices, banquet halls and entertainment spaces with a wonderful view of the sea on the sideways.
It is expected to be completed in 2019, the same year The Gambia is to host prominent leaders from the Islamic world at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit.
“This event is symbolic of a new era of potential opportunities, prosperity and greater freedom and dignity for our people,”President Barrow said of the construction of the centre.
He said the conference centre will put The Gambia in good stead to attract and host regional, sub-regional and international conferences. This, in turn, will create vast employment opportunities for youth and boast markets for the tourism sector as well as provide avenues for top decision makers to visit the country.
The Gambian leader expressed gratitude to the government of China for funding the construction of the landmark structure.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ousainou Darboe, said the conference centre is important to The Gambia’s international outlook; it will bring about economic growth and development to the country.
He hailed the long-standing support and cooperation which the People’s Republic of China has been providing to The Gambia since in the 1970s.
He recalled that the Chinese government has ever been a good part of The Gambia, noting that construction of the Bakau Independencestadium and the Judiciary complex building in Banjul were among the significant contributions of China to the infrastructural aspect of The Gambia.
The Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia, Zhang Jiming, said the construction of the international conference centre will usher in greater and stronger bilateral relations between The Gambia and the People’s Republic of China.
“The landmark event symbolizes China’s resolve to help in the infrastructural development across the African continent as deeply embedded in the international development agenda,” the ambassador said.
The Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Bai Lamin Jobe, pledged his ministry’s full support to ensuring that the project is a success.