Higher Education Research Science and Technology
The MoHERST has negotiated with the Senegalese Government for Gambian students wishing to study in Senegalese universities / institutions as private candidates to pay local rates/fees as Senegalese students.
MoHERST received 50 scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies (masters and PhD levels) from the Government of Senegal for the 2017/2018 Academic Year.
The Ministry accordingly decided to open Twenty Five (25) to the general public in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Health, Agriculture, French etc; 10 scholarships for staff of UTG in the areas of STEM, Health and Agriculture; 10 scholarships to GTTI for TVET training; and 5 scholarships to the Gambia College to support capacity development in teacher training.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria has offered 550 scholarships to The Gambia (500 undergraduate and 50 graduate) for the 2017/2018 Academic Year.
The MOHERST opened applications and shortlisted candidates for the undergraduate scholarships sat to a Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination on the 30th September, 2017 in The Gambia. The examination was supervised by JAMB officials and WAEC. The results of the examination are yet to be released by the JAMB Office in Abuja.
The UTG, GTTI, MDI, GC, and government Ministries / Departments were given the opportunity to nominate suitable candidates to be considered for the masters / PhD offers for the 50 postgraduate scholarships.
The annual offer of 30 scholarships from The Kingdom of Morocco to The Gambia still continues. Interviews are conducted this week for the 2017/2018 academic year. The final shortlist will be forwarded to the Moroccan authorities for consideration and necessary action.
The Fisheries Sector continues to gain prominence in the Government’s development agenda due to its potential contribution to food security, improved nutrition, poverty eradication and addressing unemployment in the country.
The amendment of the Fisheries Regulations, 2008 and the lifting of the embargo imposed on industrial fishing operations in the first quarter of 2017 is expected to contribute to ensuring food security through availability of fish, enhance the fisheries sector’s contribution to GDP and employment creation.
Since the commencement of industrial fishing operations in June 2017, a total revenue of GMD 8, 279, 085.75 (Eight Million, Two Hundred and Seventy-Nine Thousand and Eighty-Five Dalasis and Seventy-Five bututs) has been realized from license fees. And, a further One Hundred and Thirty-Five Thousand Dalasis (GMD 135,000.00) was generated from the payment of fishing license forms.
Revenue totaling Five Million, Two Hundred and Fifty-Two Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty Eight Dalasis (GMD 5, 252, 168.00) was generated from 10% fish landing fees. Whilst, Two Hundred and Seventy One (271) Gambian youths have been employed(67 Fisheries Observers and 204 Fisheries Deckhands)
Transport, Works and Infrastructure
I am pleased to announce that the 950 metres Yellitenda/Bambatenda bridge is forty (40%) completed and likely to meet the project completion date of November 2018. The project costs US$ 88 million. The project is funded by the African Development Bank.
The scope of the project includes the bridge and toll facility, two joint border posts and two markets and two access roads.
The honourable Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure Hon. Bai Lamin Jobe has informed me that contrary to public claims that this will affect river transport, necessary measures were taken in the feasibility studies and design phases of the project to ensure that river transport is not adversely affected.
Feasibility studies for the construction of the Basse/Fatato to Koina Road and including the Basse/Wulli Bridge and the Fatato/Passamass Bridge are currently underway. The studies which started on October 18 are jointly undertaken by consultants from China Communications Construction Company and the National Roads Authority.
The design, its related cost and construction specifications will be determined by the outcome of the study, which will lead to an MOU between the two governments.
Works progress of the Laminkoto/Passimus Road which cost US$ 61,942, 663 is estimated at 17% as of end September 2017. The Arezki SA was awarded the contract.
Tourism and Culture
Premature tourist departures due to the political crisis of December 2016 meant that hotel occupancies that were hitherto almost 95% were reduced to virtually 0%.
Tourist arrivals are expected to exceed 41 flights with the commencement of the October tourist season.
Following his assumption of duty, the new Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Hamat N.K Bah, immediately embarked on moves to resuscitate and revive the Sector. And, to implement measures for a speedy revitalization of the industry.
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture reform objective to steadily transform the Gambia into a Tourist Paradise touches on all facets such as Destination Marketing, Quality Control and Service Delivery, upgrading of all hotel outfits within the country, Product Development and the Improvement of Linkages with other Productive sectors of the Economy.
Following the intensive and rigorous contact between the Honorable Minister of Tourism and Culture with senior executives of major international tour operating companies and airlines led to commitments by the FTI Group who had withdrawn operations from the Gambia over 15 years to construct two hotels of 500 rooms and 350 rooms capacity respectively. This will result in the commencement of all year round Tourism from May 2018. Negotiations are also ongoing for Thomas Cook’s all year round Tourism project.
The tourism Industry has regained investor confidence resulting in the finalization of processes for the construction of several Hotels of different star ratings.
Graduates from The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute which provides diploma level high quality training in travel, tourism and hospitality will now be given an opportunity to pursue a degree course in travel and tourism at the University of the Gambia (UTG). Beginning 2018 the Institute in joint partnership with the FTI Group will graduate 800 fully trained Gambians annually.
In March 2017, the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Patrimony, Senegal, began the review and update of the expired Management Plan (2005-2009) of the Stone Circles of The Senegambia, a trans-border cultural property that was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006.
The next target is to sign a bilateral cultural cooperation agreement with Senegal to facilitate joint management of these cultural legacies and spaces between our two peoples.
An international consultant has also been identified to review and update of the NCAC 1988 Cultural Policy of The Gambia. The exercise is funded by UNESCO.
Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad
Honorary Consul General of the Republic of The Gambia to Lebanon
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad (MoFA) informed the general public that the President of the Republic of The Gambia, H.E Adama Barrow, on April 10 2017 had appointed Mr Khalid A. Hammoud as the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of The Gambia to Lebanon contrary to claims made by businessman Muhammed Bazzi, former Gambian Consul General to Lebanon, before the Commission of Inquiry that he is the actual Honorary Consul General of the Republic of The Gambia to Lebanon.
The Gambia’s Position on Togo
On Monday October 23rd 2017, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ousainou Darboe clarified the position of The Government of The Gambia on the political situation in Togo. He further stated he did not call for the resignation of the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe as published by the Reuters News Agency.
The Gambia and the Republic of Togo remain bonded by strong ties of brotherhood and friendship and it is the wish of the two Heads of State that these relations be further strengthened in the coming years.
False Twittter Account Disclaimer on Recognition of Catalonia
On October 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad (MoFA), called the public’s attention to a false Twitter account, dubbed "@MFAGambia" which claimed that the Government of The Gambia recognized Catalonia.
The Ministry has taken steps to shut down the said false Twitter account. The public should take note that the official Twitter account of the Ministry is "@MOFAGambia" and the Facebook account -"Ministry of Foreign Affairs - The Gambia."
The Government of the Republic of The Gambia has never and does not recognise Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence from the Kingdom of Spain.
The Government of The Gambia has taken Interim Measures to transition from machine readable passports to biometric passports in collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Organization, the regulatory body for passports.
Machine readable passports will continue to be valid for this year, 2017.
Enrolment centres will also be put in place in the various foreign missions to enable Gambians in the Diaspora acquire biometric passports.
The Government of The Gambia of the Gambia has also decided to go biometric with the ID cards and we’re almost at the completion stages of the technical and procurement processes, by the first quarter of 2018.
Digital Terrestrial Transition (DTT)
It is important to note that the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure through PURA is processing applications for TV stations following the adoption of the Digital Broadcasting Policy (DBP) by Cabinet.
The Broadcasting Policy will guide the implementation process of the DTT and as well set out a prudent approach for the country to reap the benefits from the Digital Switch Over (DSO) in terms of increased revenue generation and employment opportunities for the country’s youth.
The GOTG is looking into fully liberalizing the Gateway and a decision on full liberalization is expected by January 2018 as Gamtel’s subsequent 6 month management takeover from July 7, 2017 for a period of 6 months following the termination of the MGI contract over the International Gateway (IG) ends December 2017.
National ICT Agency
The establishment of a National Agency is in line with the GOTG’s strategy to enhance coordination of activities in this critical sector. The ICT Agency Bill has been drafted and will be presented to the National Assembly for adoption before the end of the year.
National Broadband Network (NBN) Project
The GOTG through GAMTEL are set to implement the National Broadband Network (NBN) Project following the successful implementation of the ECOWAN Project. The NBN is set to roll out additional fibre to the communities to help solve issues of digital divide locally and in the same vein encourage operators to tap into the infrastructure and provide services to their subscribers throughout the length and breadth of the Gambia. The National Broadband Network will seek to address the last mile connectivity issues in the country including the establishment of a datacenter for the government.
The total cost is US$25m concessionary loan from the EXIMBANK OF China expected to be paid in 20 years .
A new savings bank solution will become fully operational by 2018 with the introduction of the post cash, GAMPOST branded cards backed by visa card will be launched by 2018.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) has registered game changing gains in the ICT and Information and Broadcasting sectors both in terms of policy and infrastructural development in the past one year. To further influence my Ministry’s thrust on and to improve access to information and ensure freedom of expression, we have recruited an adviser, Ndey Tapha Sosseh.
Beyond advising the minister and working to ensure free flow of information, she will be working closely with the advisor to the Minister of Justice (under the Article 19 agreement with our two ministries)
Her main role is to advise the Minister on formulation of a comprehensive National Communication Strategy and support MOICI in the process for legal reform of media laws and communications policies.
The advisor has been recruited with support from Article 19.