The government has broken its silence by announcing in a press release that it is seeking a deferment of the hosting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit previously scheduled to take place in The Gambia this year.
Media reports have recently indicated that Gambia would no longer be hosting the summit this year; instead the summit would be hosted by Saudi Arabia.
There has been a lot of discussion in the media of late about Gambia no longer hosting the summit this year due to inadequate capacity of the government towards meeting certain expectations, such as the rehabilitation of roads and Hotels among other Infrastructural development.
The reason for the failure to host the summit this year is spelt out in the release.
The release discloses that “The decision followed a series of high-level consultations held with other African countries on the limited time available to have the needed infrastructure for the successful hosting of the 2019 OIC Summit.”
In order to facilitate the hosting of the summit the release says that the government was able to securing funding for the following:
Construction of a Dual Carriageway from Yundum via Bertil Harding Highway to the Sting Corner
Construction of a 400-room, 5 Star Hotel and 60 Luxury Suites
Construction of VIP Lounge at the Banjul International Airport
Enhanced Water Production, Transmission and Distribution
Enhanced Power Transmission and Distribution Network
Given these huge tasks against the limited time factor, it became apparent that the country’s ability to host the summit this year seems distant. The Government thus, opted to seek the deferment of its hosting of the Summit to the year 2022, when the next OIC Summit is scheduled to take place.
The government is hopeful of its pursuit as deferment of the hosting of OIC Summits had happened in the past to allow host countries to adequately prepare for it. According to the release, countries that have deferred the hosting of the OIC Summit in the past include Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
It was at its 13th Summit held in Turkey in April 2016 that the Organisation decided The Gambia will host the 2019 Summit, which was initially scheduled for November this year.
The Government has reaffirmed its commitment to host the Summit in 2022.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest intergovernmental organization with a membership of 57 States. Once every three (3) years, the organization organizes and holds a Summit bringing together Rulers and the Heads of State and Government of its member states in a single forum, often the largest gathering of leaders from the Islamic Ummah. It is at the Summit that key policy decisions are taken and guidance provided on all issues pertaining to the realisation of the objectives of the organization as provided for in the OIC Charter. The Summit also considers other issues of specific concern to any Member State or a group of Member States with a view to addressing them.