While it’s a fantastic holiday destination, there is an incredible speck on the gigantic African continent that has much more to offer those with only luxury in mind.
Housing and life in The Gambia have become a very attractive proposition for those with the finances to buy land (on which to build a home) or ready-built property. Commerce also is expanding at an extraordinary rate.
Currently land is very cheap by European standards and, formally colonised by the British, many Brits are already returning to this tiny African country. The chances are that, if you have a house in this gorgeous sun-spot, at least one of your immediate neighbours will be from the U.K.
Marvellous beaches on each side of the ocean-fed River Gambia are, for up to 350 kilometres, only a short distance from the miniscule townships that populate the countryside. Ready-built property situated three miles (five kilometers) from Banjul’s main business centre can sell for as little as £25,000 with a superb, exquisite swimming pool and spacious accommodation – of three bedrooms, ample lounge/dining room, bathrooms and kitchen gardens and sun-bathing patios, ideal for barbeques. This is a sample at the residential Yarambamba Estate on the main route and only three miles from the airport to the centre of Banjul. The airport is now extending its size to meet future needs, with new and longer runways. Presently, air passengers step out of a bus and walk up the stairs to their aircraft. Soon they will walk along the extendible gangways that the major World airports have, straight into the aircraft and to their seats.
This will be an enormous delight for me personally – disabled by Ankylosin Spondylitis 30 years ago, (and, at the age of 80, with many more ailments) I am a wheelchair-user and, I always find it undignified to being unceremoniously lifted up and down stairs and shunted around in cars instead of suitable estate vehicles and confronted with roads which have gorge-type gutters, a visit to The Gambia has shown me the changing bad to the imminent good that will match the European Equal Rights Act (2008); and without European laws. Ambitious Gambia is one of the African countries to rapidly learn that, peacefully, Development is their Future. Especially, the Gambians know that the Empowerment of the Women is the Empowerment of the Nation.
The advances were confirmed when I met Alieu Jallow, a lawyer at the Registry of the Ministry of Justice, at his office. He has his eye on International Law in relation to the opportunities for previously undeveloped countries like his and he is aware of rich nations who are anxious to invest the capital in progressive projects.
Seeking to obtain property for me and my wife, I tapped Mr Jallow’s professional knowledge; he patiently listed the procedure and wisely drew my attention to his Office’s Regulations to avoid any future disappointment in the course of the transaction.
In the broader field, Mr Jallow added that his responsibility and that of his colleagues would be to work towards ensuring that all new buildings will have ramps and elevators and disabled toilets – that are also used by mothers who need to change their baby’s nappies; making the lives of people like me more independent and as comfortable as possible.
Escaping the cold winters of January in the northern hemisphere, Gambia provides 35 degrees and in May/June/July the temperature hits 48-50 centigrade. Now how appealing is that?
What I am grateful for is that with her people being Muslims in the majority, The Gambia, has folk that are so unstintingly kind, happy and helpful. The people love to love. As a vegetarian, the most delightful African meals that I have always found to be the healthiest of meals, are cooked for me by Gambia’s hard-working yet forever-smiling women. Brotherly and sisterly love abounds – everyone is either your brother or sister (in my case I am respectfully called Husband, Brother, Pappa, Dad, Nonno or Grandfather). How proud I feel! (I am sorry that I have not learned any of her languages – but I’ll give it a try, I’m getting some books and we are never too old to learn).
A live-in maid will be fully content to work for £25 a month (and this is no exploitation), it’s a good wage and with food and it’s other benefits and permanency that guarantees a woman’s safety and comfort, she would be the envy of others. A good employer, with facilities, will not exclude her children. (How wonderful for me to have little children around on to whom I could pass on my knowledge and wisdom.).
Banjul, Gambia’s capital, is engaged in a massive re-development programme and, like the sky-scrapers that are in the immediate planning – and beginning to appear, prices too will go sky-high. The top-notch international hotel monopolies are already snapping up their lucrative sites. Every new building in and around Banjul is a T – A – L – L one. Every side of any main road that you travel already has major construction work in progress. Over the fish-rich, flowing river, new bridges are to be built to cope with future traffic that will traverse from one side of the country to the other.
Little Gambia needs and deserves the enrichment that is now on it’s way. Her unstoppable economic advance has begun in earnest.
What investment is possible today, will very likely not be possible tomorrow.
Ray Bellisario 2016