Sep 9, 2016, 10:16 AM
delegation of Gambians living in Norway and their Norwegian and Bulgarian
partners interested in investing in The Gambia have called on His Excellency
President Adam Barrow on Friday morning.
In her introduction, the Minister of Trade, Regional Integration, Industry and Employment (MOTRIE), Honourable Dr Isatou Touray, said the visiting team was on a scoping mission but added they were pleased with what they had discovered in the country.
A Gambian resident in Norway and an activist, Ndey Jobarteh, said The Gambia did not exploit the Scandinavian opportunities and it is time to engage the Norwegians.
She briefed the president of the activities they did to prepare the visiting team and the immediate actions, taken during the visit to support the health and energy sectors amongst others.
She expressed the urgency to work on bilateral relations between the governments of The Gambia and Norway.
Another Norwegian born Gambian, Mamadi Ceesay, managing director of a Norwegian Gambian organisation, Norga, said they sell the best of two worlds that is The Gambia and Norway.
He further divulged their plans to work on a Norwegian model to encourage The Gambia to work with specialists so that it can eventually sustain its own development.
Their plan includes to create jobs for one thousand youths throughout the country as they work towards their target of five thousand youths.
Omar Badjie of the Ministry of Trade gave a brief of the engagements of the Norwegian and Bulgarian delegation with the different sectors.
He reported that the team was impressed with the potential found in The Gambia, after visiting the hospital, the team immediately committed to send two containers to support the hospital and also commit to send biomedical engineers to provide technical support in the operation and maintenance of the machines.
They also pledged to provide generator for the immediate needs of NAWEC while they work with the Ministry of Energy on long term renewable energy sources for rural Gambia.
Other sectors of interest to the team are tourism, construction and agriculture including plans to revive the groundnut milling plant at Denton Bridge (Saroo.)
In his response, H.E. President Barrow said he was pleased and proud that Gambians are answering his call to rebuilding The Gambia.
He asserted that the past twenty-two years was difficult and it was risky to be political candidate.
The president appreciated the efforts of Gambians and how they compromised everything for the change to take place. He therefore called for all to work hard for the change to reflect on the people.
The president commended the Gambians in Norway as ambassadors for their country, and said all Gambians are now free to return home.
He reiterated that they fought for the change based on the principles of democracy, and he said with democracy, there will be respect for human rights and rule of law.
He appreciated the efforts by the Ministry of Trade working with the other relevant ministries to reduce the bureaucracy which led to signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the partners. Time is important and his government is ready to do business.
President Barrow informed them of the challenges inherited including what he described as “a broken economy and the former government work on ‘pay as you go’ taking soft loans for three months to fix things and went back to the same cycle.”
On the structural changes at his office, President Barrow shared the changes they have done to decongest the Office of the President by reassigning the different portfolios to the right line ministries.
He elaborated on the targets set in the various sectors, top on the agenda is for the energy to have short term measures in the first six months and have a long term solution to solve the energy crises.
On tourism, they plan to have a year round tourism which would include marketing The Gambia to bring back the Scandinavians who used to be one of Gambia’s main targets for the tourism sector.
President Barrow concluded that when there is development, then democracy will thrive forever and called on all to join in nation building.
The visiting team included Mr Ba Jabbie of Norga; Gambian Activists in Norway, Ndey Jobarteh and Neneh Bojang, a legal practitioner and other Norwegian and Bulgarian investors.
Source: Office of The President