Stakeholders meet on digital masterplan for GBA

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Gambia Ports Authority in consultation with Royal Haskoning, African Development Bank, Banjul City Council and other stakeholders on Monday held a validation workshop on Digital Masterplan and Capacity building for the Greater Banjul Area.

Funded by the Africa Development Bank (ADB), the project which costs US$3M, aims to improve infrastructural development, youth employment and improve transportation in the country.

At the launch, Alpha Barry, chairman of GPA, said the project known as the 4th Banjul Port Project was studied by Royal Haskoning, one of the leading maritime consulting firms in the World.

The project he said, consist of various elements such as extension and replacement of the main jetty, institutional reforms and manpower development amongst others.

Barry indicated that the activities of the ports are causing negative impact on the city of Banjul, saying there are warehouses and trucks all over the place.

“The port is handling about 120,000 containers per annum, proper planning and coordination between the Port and the City should be taken for sustainability”, he added.

Barry underscored the importance of the Ports of Banjul in the development of the country, pointing out that 80% of international trade passes through the Ports.

For that being the case, he said, it deem it necessary for the Ports to be guarded by the government to exercise utmost caution to avoid taking decisions that would be detrimental to the economic well-being of the country.

Shabnam Mallick, UNOPS Country Manager said the country is urbanising rapidly and to respond to this urban expansion, the African Development Bank and the UNOPS have agreed to work together for the Greater Banjul Area.

This joint project, she highlighted, will develop the capacities of three municipalities namely: Banjul, Kanifing Municipality and Brikama.

She said that the joint project would address sustainable development goals 8, 9, and 11 with a longer term impact on the aforementioned goals.

Mam Tut Wadda, Chief Investment Officer said the Bank has engaged with GPA in developing the Ports of Banjul since in the early 1960s and it has financed the last three Banjul Ports expansion projects.

The Bank she said, has also been engaging with the government through the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure and the GPA board and management.

“The Bank intends to accelerate economic growth and development at the local and national level. A separate bank mission will be dispatched in July this year to commence processing the project”.

Wadda noted that the Bank has financed in infrastructure project each year and has steadily increased its funding in the urban spares from an average of €10 million per year between 2009 to over € 400million in 2018.

Talib Bensouda, the Mayor of KMC and chairperson of the Greater Banjul Area, hailed the swift response of the AFDB, which he said, is a testament to their commitment towards The Gambia.

Mayor Bensouda described the project as timely, emphasising that the three councils are relentless in their effort to transform the landscape of the Greater Banjul Area, which he added, is the commercial growth and consumption center of The Gambia with over 60% of Gambians living within.

“Therefore the strategy he said, will assist in achieving many of the 8 key enablers in the country’s NDP such as infrastructure and youth development” he added.

Author: Fatou Bojang & Richard Akintoye