By Bekai Njie
A senior government official who is familiar with the developments and prefers to remain anonymous has confirmed that The Gambia’s bid to host the 2019 summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been cancelled.
Our source explained that The Gambia’s failure to host the 2019 summit was as a result of inadequate infrastructure, lack of enough hotels, frequent power and water cuts and poor telecommunication among others. All these combined made The Gambia ineligible to host the summit which would have brought together 57 heads of state and kings.
The Gambia’s Foreign Minister Dr. Mamadou Tangara, was in Niger last week, where he had discussions with President Issoufou Mahamadouon important issues; such as sub-regionalterrorism.
Dr. Tangara delivered a letter from President Adama Barrow to President Mahamadou. However, media reports from Niger say that Dr. Tangara and President Mahamadou also talked about the cancellation of Gambia’s bid to host November 2019 summit due to several constraints that The Gambia is facing including pressure to meet the deadline.
“We will request for the summit to be held in The Gambia in 2022 for better preparation,” Dr. Tangara told journalists.
This is the second time that an African country’s bid to host the OIC summit has failed. Senegal initially planned to host it in 2006 but failed.
Minister Tangara is currently on tour to inform member states of the cancellation of 2019 OIC summit in The Gambia, reports say.
Our sources have it that only two countries helped The Gambia financially: Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan. Turkey and Indonesia helped with training Security and Protocol.
According to the OIC rule, if a hosting country fails to host the summit, Saudi Arabia, where the Organisation’s headquarters is will automatically host the summit.
The Gambia will bid to host the next summit in 2022, as the summit is held every three years.
The Peoples Republic of China is constructingthe center for the summit at a tune of50,000,000 US Dollars as its contribution.
Kazakhstan has contributed 100,000 US Dollars towards the smooth running of the Secretariat of the OIC in The Gambia, while Saudi Arabia promised to build the VIP lounge of the Banjul International Airport and also construct 100km road.
Saudi has contributed substantial money toassist Gambia on its projects, sources say. The 100km road construction includes the expansion of the Bertil Harding Highway, starting from Sting Corner to the Airport Junction.
The entire project for the summit includes a new Five-star hotel with 400 rooms; the construction of a new VIP lounge at the Banjul International Airport; the construction of new water production plant and enhanced Power Transmission and Distribution Network.