Impeccable impact of the OIC Project on Gambia’s future

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According to research conducted by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the Gambia’s GDP growth was sluggish at 4.3% in 2021 and 4.4% in 2022 as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which impacted agriculture, tourism, building activity, and private investment, including infrastructure, after a muted 0.6% increase in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, with the OIC Project and other projects, the infrastructural development of the Gambia has attracted local and global recognition, making the continent a force to reckon with.

“When we came to power, Gambia was not doing very well as far as international relations and acceptance are concerned. It was our first policy to make sure we opened up the Gambia and brought back our friends, and we succeeded in doing that. We have launched new projects. I have launched the OIC projects. We are talking about 50 kilometres and another 22 kilometres of a six-lane highway. These were the words of the Gambia’s president, Adama Barrow, during an exclusive interview with the publisher and CEO of the African Leadership Magazine.

Talking about the OIC projects and how they affected the Gambia’s economy, he said, “For the first time, the Gambia is going to have flying bridges. This will be the first time we will be having those. So, I am finishing on a very high note. And if I talk about the constitution, most of the time, my opposition will talk about corruption, but they will never talk about the economy. Our economy was growing between 1 and 2 percent. It was struggling. Today, we are growing at 6.1 percent in the economy.

“On a very high note, we were able to make sure we had big achievements throughout the journey. We started some of our projects, and now we are finishing those big projects. I have just inaugurated the new roads in Basse. You have the bridges. You have the roads.

This infrastructure is big and it is just completed. Recently, I inaugurated the substation, which is the OMVG electrical substation. It is a big one. It is a game-changer in people’s lives. We just inaugurated it recently. I have just laid the foundation stone for over twenty-something health facilities. All the projects are going on as of now, and I have projects that are going on that people have been talking about for 50 or 60 years.

There is a road called the Hakaran Road. It is a famous road. It is about 86 kilometers. We have another road that is about fifty-something kilometers long. We have another road over eighty-something. So, the contracts that are going on for road construction are for about 300 to 400 kilometers. They are all going very well,” President Barrow revealed.

In addition, he also spoke about other achievements that have also contributed to the sustainable growth and development of the Gambia. “Today, interest rates are at 4 percent as of 2022. Commercial banks were lending at 30 percent. They are lending at between 15 and 16 percent.

We have increased our collection by 100 percent or more as it stands. The most interesting thing is that we are using state resources to do most of these projects. I think it was a rough journey, but basically, there are a lot of achievements. We have challenges, though. Obviously, it is a small country. It is a poor country, but we try to manage our resources very well to make sure we impact the lives of the people. This has been the journey.”

Further speaking, President Barrow also opened up about the Gambia’s relationship with the rest of the world. He said, “We have a very good relationship with the European Union, and we have to thank them for the support they gave. They did very well for us. Also, in the Arab world, we tried to connect the Gambia to the Arab world, the African continent, and ECOWAS.

That’s why, for the first time, we have succeeded in being the President of ECOWAS for the next four years, from 2022 to 2026. In the history of this country, they have been trying all the time. Yahaya Jammeh tried for 22 years, even to become chairman. He didn’t succeed, but today, I think we should congratulate ourselves on that achievement. It is a big achievement. Even the UN has succeeded in being part of human rights.

Gambia has also gotten a seat in Human Rights. So, this is a big achievement for us. The OIC project is one of the biggest organisations in the world. I think it is next to the UN. So, for the Gambia, as a small country, to be given the opportunity to host is, I think, a big achievement for the Gambia. If you look at all these projects, we are talking about almost 300 million dollars worth of projects, and that will have a big impact on Gambian society. We are very proud of that. We are happy that they have confidence in Gambia. They have confidence in the leadership.

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