government announced yesterday that it has decided to defer the hosting of the
2019 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit in the country to the
The decision, according to a release from State House followed series of high-level consultations held with other African countries on the limited time available to have the needed infrastructure for the successful hosting of the Summit.
But the government said in preparation for the summit, it has established the National OIC Secretariat in February 2018 to oversee the successful organisation and hosting of the summit.
The Secretariat has also been given the mandate to mobilise resources required to enable The Gambia to host the summit successfully. Already, it has secured funding for the construction of a dual carriageway from Yundum via Bertil Harding Highway to the Sting Corner, construction of a 400-room, 5-star hotel and 60 luxury suites, construction of VVIP lounge at the Banjul International Airport, enhanced water production, transmission and distribution, enhanced power transmission and distribution network. It says implementation of these projects will start soon:
Given these huge tasks against the limited time factor, government says it became apparent that the country’s ability to host the summit this year seems distant. “The government therefore opted to seek the deferment of its hosting of the summit to the year 2022, when the next OIC Summit is scheduled to take place.”
Deferment of the hosting of OIC Summits had happened in the past to allow host countries to adequately prepare for it. Countries that have deferred the hosting of the OIC Summit in the past include Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
According to the release, it was at its 13th Summit held in Turkey in April 2016 that the Organisation decided that The Gambia will host the 2019 Summit, which was initially scheduled for November this year. “The government of The Gambia wishes to reassure the general public, members of the entire Ummah and all its development partners of its commitment to host the Summit in 2022.”
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest intergovernmental organisation with a membership of 57 States. Once every three (3) years, the organisation organises and holds a summit bringing together Rulers and the Heads of State and Government of its member states in a single forum, often the largest gathering of leaders from the Islamic Ummah.
It is at the summit that key policy decisions are taken and guidance provided on all issues pertaining to the realisation of the objectives of the organisation as provided for in the OIC Charter. The summit also considers other issues of specific concern to any Member State or a group of Member States with the view to addressing them.