By Kebba Jeffang
The Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Banjul, said it needs a projected budget of $260 million (about eleven billion, seven hundred million dalasi), to host the Summit in November 2019. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday October 23rd, the Secretariat’s CEO Lamin J.K Sanneh, said the projected budget is divided among various organizational activities that needs to be set up before the Summit.
He however clarified that the Government of the Gambia has no stake in the financial contributions towards the budget, because they are assisted by member countries.
He itemized that the budget for the hotel is $80 million and they have already completed 75% on this; that probably in the next few months or weeks, they will have a milestone project on this.
Sanneh, an investment Banker by profession, said road construction of 100 kilometers will take a cost of $100 million while the VIP lounge at the airport will cost $15.5 million; that a water and electricity supplementary project is projected at $32 million and the procurement of presidential vehicles stands at $13 million. “Let me make this very clear that these projects are not funded by Government of the Gambia. They are entirely funded based on grants without conditions. The Secretariat is run by the Saudi Government and the salaries of everyone here. None of us is paid by the Government of the Gambia,” he clarified.
He added: “We want people to understand that member countries are helping the Gambia to organize this Summit. Gambia as I speak, is not ready financially, to organize such a Summit,” the CEO said.
He disclosed that member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprising of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain, will support the $260M projects; that they are continuing to seek for more financial support from several countries including Indonesia, Nigeria etc., in order to meet their projected budget; that their desire is to ensure the OIC projects remain useful as a source of employment for Gambians, after the Summit.
Gambian president Adama Barrow, will take the Chairmanship of the OIC next year and will serve a three year tenure before the next Summit is held. The Gambia has been a member of OIC since 1974.
The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations, with a membership of 57 states, spread over four continents. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.
The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, in the Kingdom of Morocco on 25 September 1969, following the arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
In 1970, the first ever meeting of Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), was held in Jeddah where it was decided to establish a permanent Secretariat in that City.