May 7, 2014, 11:47 AM
The presentation ceremony attended by the project stakeholders was held at the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) premises.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Bolaji Ayodele, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Guaranty Trust Bank, thanked the Tourism ministry for choosing to partner with GTBank in an unprecedented project in the development of tourism and culture in the country.
He said when the minister approached the bank for the partnership, it was not difficult for them to take a decision as to whether or not to accede to the request.
“As a corporate citizen of the land, we know that we have a responsibility to selflessly contribute to such initiatives. To ensure effective intervention, and in our corporate social responsibility we have identified arts and culture, health, education, sports and the environment as key intervention sectors,” the GTBank CEO said.
Therefore, he added, the construction of the Tourist Information Center and the refurbishment of the Kunta Kinteh World Acclaimed Heritage site in Juffureh “is perfectly in-line” with their corporate social responsibility policy.
“We are happy to make this modest contribution of D500,000 to the remarkable initiative. We hope our contribution goes a long way in complementing your ministry’s efforts in achieving your set objectives.”
Mr Ayodele further said they at GTBank are aware of the importance of tourism to the development of The Gambia, which was why they have continued to champion electronic banking as an important factor in attracting tourists to the country.
GTBank was the first bank to enable their ATMs and Point of Sale Terminals for Visa and Mastercard transactions, he said.
“We have a robust internet platform, our Point of Sales Terminals and ATMs are deployed in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets and we have established the first and only electronic branch in the country,” MD Ayodele said.
These technology driven products and services would, no doubt, contribute immensely to the development of tourism in The Gambia, he added.
In receiving the cheque, Benjamin Roberts, Minister of Tourism and Culture, thanked GTBank for the laudable gesture towards the implementation of one of the components of the Juffureh-Albreda Revamp project.
He said the relationship between the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the bank, through their satellite institutions and The Gambia Tourism Board, would go a long way.
The bank had deemed fitting to partner with them by helping them to fund the project, which would benefit not only citizens of the country, but also people of the world at large because Juffureh is known to be a world acclaimed heritage site.
Roberts added that the support has once again demonstrated the bank’s commitment to the preservation of ways of life and culture of the world at large.
Baba Ceesay, director general of NCAC, said the project was conceived in reaction to the deteriorating circumstances of the Roots Product.
The Roots Product, he noted, is one of the most valuable tourism products of The Gambia, which is centred on visits to the villages of Albreda and Juffureh, including Kunta Kinta Island and the historic remains in the area, which are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.