Gambia steals the spotlight at the U.K-Africa Partnerships Summit

Monday, June 18, 2018

An unprecedented show of respect, reverence and admiration for The Gambia, was displayed at the ‘‘Africa Summit’’ which took place on Thursday, at the Hilton Hotel in London - thanks to Hamat N.K. Bah, minister of Tourism and Culture who shocked everyone with an ‘‘outstanding and exceptional’’ speech. His discourse eventually resulted to standing ovation and prolonged applause across the board.  

Delivering the keynote speech prior to accepting an honour of conferment of Personality of the Year Award; African Public Service Award Medal of Honour; Mr. Bah, acknowledged that the award did not only belongs to him but instead an ‘‘achievement of both his country and ministry... and will bring the broadest smile on the face of the smiling coast and the Gambian people.’’

Mr. Bah, also noted that he deeply appreciate the key role and contribution of the Magazine Group towards ‘‘this noble and well documented achievement,’’ as well as the crucial part played by the private sector.

He emphasised that whilst governments are expected to formulate, implement and monitor national policies and programmes, it is other organs that provide and deal with the bread and butter issues. 

Mr. Bah also outlined that another group contributing towards the success of our endeavours in this sensitive sector is the Gambian Diaspora. He outlined such importance especially in terms of remittances regularly offered to family and friends back home. 

Mr. Bah disclosed that it was President Barrow who assigned him the portfolio of Tourism and Culture and further revealed the president’s ‘‘unflinching support and encouragement in the execution of “my duties and responsibilities.’’ He added that he is deeply indebted to the president for guidance, leadership and care of all Gambians.

Regarding the issue of the youth, Mr. Bah stressed that the hope of the youth must be restored as soon as possible that is why the government of The Gambia is craving to make that aspiration possible.

He revealed the bold initiative of drastically reducing the number of Gambian youth crossing the sea in a bid to reach Europe, disclosing that achievements have been made and the number is now down by 60 percent.

On the issue of corruption, Mr. Bah also challenged all and sundry to help in that regard and cautioned that in order to win contracts and deals, some companies and other corporations at times tempt to corrupt certain government officials. He fears that such negative approach will not only harm the people but also devastate the structure and social fabric of nations.

Mr. Bah publicly challenged the African Press to be more energetic, vibrant and ready to expose corruption and misuse of public funds.

He quickly noted the importance of supporting African Presidents to engage on something useful and constructive following the end of their official tenure.

Tim Morris, senior trade advisor for Africa at the U.K. Foreign and Common Wealth Office, also acknowledged the relevance of Mr. Bah’s speech as well as the importance that his government attaches to the African continent. He revealed that due to such significance, the U.K. is extending closer relationship with other Francophone countries in the continent.

During his opening remarks, Dr. Ken Giami, the Publisher/CEO of African Leadership Magazine said he was extremely pleased with the gathering.

The Summit was attended by respected Ministers, Publishers, CEOs of Banks, Televisions, and Corporations, Government Officials as well as the ‘‘Top 50 African and Afro-Caribbean leaders in the U.K.’’. They interacted, showcased and discussed the U.K-Africa Partnerships for shared prosperity.

Author: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent.