OIC yet to reveal date, hotel for summit

Jun 21, 2022, 11:29 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

In a press conference held yesterday at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center amid preparations for this year's Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit to be held in The Gambia, the Chief Executive Officer of OIC, Yankuba Dibba, revealed that there is no date slated for the conference and the residential hotel that should be accommodating the delegates.

Mr. Dibba explained that the 57 OIC countries have to be part of any decision regarding the date, stating that based on the volatility of the world's situation as things can change dramatically within 24 hours. He said in 2020, no one predicted the Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. 

"This has affected so many things including supply lines and so. The things we are dealing with are infrastructure and some of the things we need required supplies and the supply chain has been affected all over the world. The date is flexible and it can be discussed, and renegotiated but that goes through a process and that process is still on."

He added he is not in a position to tell Gambians when the date will be, saying it's being workout between and among the different principles of the Ummah. He added that in the near future, they would be able to inform Gambians about a tentative date. 

With regard to the accommodation of the delegates, the CEO said all the necessary legal documents are complete to build the hotel, citing partnership with The Gambia government and EMUGAM. 

"In terms of the technical drawing, South Africans have been contracted to do the design and they have to come to The Gambia to go through the physical planning, lands, and survey and they have to accept decisions according to the laws of The Gambia. An environmental impact assessment was done to determine the suitability of the hotel."

He said the final drawing for the hotel will be submitted early next month and the laying of the foundation stone is slated for the 16 of July 2022. 

He continued that they contextualise the OIC project from the outset and envisaged that they would need at least US$500 million. In any planning process, he said, one should base on the realities and narrow it down based on the availability of funds. 

"We secured over $300 million in terms of implementing our projects. The construction of the 50KM urban roads is $50 million and is entirely funded by the Saudis. The VVIP at the airport is $10.5 million and is 100% funded by the Saudis. The Bertil Harding highway is $49 million and is co-funded by the Arab Bank Development in Africa, the Kuwaiti fund, the Islamic Development Fund, and The Gambia government."

Dibba reiterated that the Saudis are also intervening in the area of water and electricity which is a $32.5 million grant. He further revealed that the hotel project is $100 million and is a public-private partnership. 

"The Saudis entirely finance the OIC secretariat which includes our operations, salaries, and vehicles. In 2018, the Saudis pledged a $6 million grant to run the secretariat and in 2018, we received the first $3 million and we received another $2 million last week." 

Amongst the OIC projects include the construction of 50KM roads which are yet to be completed and the first phase of the Bertil Harding Highway is expected to be completed 14 months from the start.  Stable water and electricity supply continues to be a challenge to Gambians despite being part of the OIC package.

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