ultra-modern cargo complex of The Gambia International Airlines was on Monday
officially inaugurated by the vice president Aja Fatoumatta Jallow
-Tambajang on behalf of The Gambian
The inauguration of this multi-million dalasis ambitious project, forms part of activities marking The Gambia’s 53 independence anniversary and was held at the Banjul International Airport. This ultra-modern cargo complex, according to officials, has all the features that meet international standards and requirements.
The development came as the country continues its pursuit of making Banjul International Airport a regional hub, thus the need to put in place infrastructure and servives considering the trajectory of growth envisaged for the country.
Inaugurating the complex, Aja Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang, underscored the importance of the ultra-modern complex in boosting and handling of out-bound and in-bound cargoes at the airport.
The project, she went on, is supported by EIF, which she said, has been in partnership with the government of The Gambia since 2009.
She indicated that EIF aims at bringing partners and resources together to support the enhancement of trade, inclusive growth and sustained development.
She acknowledged her ministry’s recognition of the support EIF has brought to the country including the Ministry’s of Trade in terms of financial and technical support for which her Ministry remains grateful.
She thanked all those who played a part in making the project a success as well as the two ministries for their guidance.
“I’m very happy about the establishment of this cargo complex and would also like to recognise the hard work of all stakeholders in the full realisation of this project.”
The vice president acknowledged that one of the major challenges confronting The Gambia is trade facilitation, saying the coming of this cargo complex which is equipped with large scanners and storage facilities would play a crucial role in promoting trade facilitation and investment in the country.
Lamin Cham, managing director The Gambia International Airlines, acknowledged that cargo operations are part of business activities of GIA.
“At a particular point in time management made an assessment of our cargo operations in terms of our cargo infrastructure and operational system. The result of our stocktaking, our cargo system of operations and infrastructures at hand were indeed below international standard”
To this end, Cham noted that management thought it timely to get the requisite infrastructure and operating system in place.
“A business plan was developed and submitted it to the Enhanced Integrated Framework through the Ministry of Trade for funding. With the help of the ministry an amount of $2.5M was granted by EIF for the project.” he added.
Cham thanked the Miniseries of Works and Trade and EIF for the support rendered during the construction process.
Also speaking, Abdoulie E. Jammeh, director general of The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), expressed gratitude to the government and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) in particular for the support in establishing this much needed airport infrastructure.
The air cargo industry, he went on, has come up with a campaign dubbed ’Air Cargo Makes it Happen’ in view of the important role it plays in the global economy.
“This industry, which carries just 0.5% of goods transported globally, accounts for 34.6% of total revenue collected annually on goods worldwide (over US $5trillion). The industry is protected to outpace passenger traffic growth in certain parts of the world”.
GCAA DG described the establishment of this complex as a clear testament of their commitment to the actualisation of the Banjul International Airport hub vision.
Annette Ssemuwemba, deputy executive director EIF Executive secretariat, thanked the government of The Gambia for the hospitality accorded to them since their arrival in the country.
The Enhanced Integrated Framework, she added, has worked closely with the government of The Gambia since 2006 and has also supported the establishment of the ultra-modern cargo complex at Banjul International Airport.
“The EIF received funding from 24 donors. So this funding which is channeled through the partnership of EIF is a grant from development partners who are interested in the growth and development of least developed countries. I would therefore like to thank all partners and donors that worked with EIF for the development of such an important project.”
Other speakers include, minister of MOTWI, Lamin Jobe, PS Trade Naffie Barry, Mrs. Benedict’s Fleisher, former EIF board member and policy director Trade Negotiations of the Norweigian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The event was graced by ministers and senior government officials and a cross section of elders from communities surrounding the Banjul International Airport.