Angola crucial in Gambia’s development’
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The president of the Republic has commented on the contribution of Angola to The Gambia’s socio-economic development, while also praising the Southern African country’s investment in the sub-region.
His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh was speaking to journalists Monday evening in an interview at the Banjul International Airport shortly after returning from the Republic of Angola where he undertook a working visit as part of efforts to strengthen cooperation between Banjul and Luanda.
“You have a lot of Gambians in Angola but one thing that people failed to understand is how much Angola is contributing to our socio-economic development. I think the first privately owned storey building in this country is owned by somebody who is from Angola and many a Gambian became millionaires in the country thanks to Angola. Unfortunately for the past 17 years, I have never paid a visit to Angola,” he stated.
Disclosing that they went to Angola to “sign a general cooperation of agreement”, the Gambian leader underscored that the Southern African country is one with which they can share experiences. He extolled their independent nature, saying it is “very Pan-Africanist”.
“So you will realise that among the resource endowed countries in Africa, is only Angola and Nigeria that are investing in the sub-region. Angola is the only Southern African country that looks towards West Africa and say let me do a major project to help improve the livelihood of the people.
Angola has shared her resources with The Gambia and we need to go and tell them not only thank you but formalise the relation so that we can have bilateral relations that would help us exchange ideas, experiences,” he further stated.
Emphasising that The Gambia will soon become an oil producing country, the president underscored that rather than learning from outside experience, it is vital for them to learn from “our brothers and sisters in Angola”.
“Now the Angolans have developed expertise to an extent that even the oil companies pulled out. Angola will replace it without any hassle and this is the type of expertise we want to learn from Angola.
Already we have 25 graduates on petroleum and the areas that were not covered by this 25, the next [batch of] 25 students will study those areas because we want to make sure that by the time we start exploiting our oil, nobody is going to fool us and so Angola is being very Pan-Africanist and they have opened their doors to us and that is why we went there to sign a general cooperation agreement,” he concluded.
Present at the airport to receive President Jammeh and delegation were the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, Cabinet ministers, senior government officials, director generals and managing directors, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, and a cross-section of Gambians.
Author: Hatab Fadera