Gambian Int’l Economic and Investment Forum for Spain Postponed Until December—Organizers
Ali Sowe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Blue Light Economic Investment Forum has confirmed to The Chronicle that the much awaited Gambian International Economic and Investment Forum that was expected to be hosted by the Gambian Government in Spain last month has been deferred to December of this year.
The Gambia International Economic and Investment Forum is aimed at bringing together potential public and private Spanish investors and companies interested in investing in The Gambia. They will have the chance to engage with their counterpart Gambian officials with the goal of galvanizing the needed resources required to bankroll the programs of activities inscribed in the National Development Plan (NDP).
The goal of the National Development Plan (NDP) is to deliver good governance and accountability, social cohesion, national reconciliation, revitalize and transform the economy for the wellbeing of all Gambians anchored on the national vision that aims to transform The Gambia into a middle income country.
“You are right. The Gambia International Economic and Investment Forum expected to be hosted in Spain last month has been deferred to December 6th, 2019. This decision was made after we assessed the prevailing political situation in Spain and we (the organizers) thought that we cannot host a successful forum when our host city Barcelona is engulfed in protests,” said Ali Sowe, CEO Blue Light Economic Investment Forum.
Sowe further disclosed to The Chronicle that the organizers (Blue Light Economic Investment Forum and Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery (DSPD) Office of the President) are very much particular about the safety and security of delegates. He added that due to their (organizers) concerns with the ongoing protests in the Catalan region especially in Barcelona where the event is expected to be hosted, the organizers are left with no option but to defer the date to December 2019.
In September, both the event and organizers of the forum had come under immense criticism among a section of Gambians who criticized the newly established Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery (DSPD) under the Office of the President for organizing such an event.
They alleged that the event is aimed to ferry a good number of top Gambian Government officials and private entrepreneurs to Spain just to attend another retreat, while questioning the credibility and capacity of Blue Light Economic Investment Forum Company to lead this national initiative.
However, Alhagie Nyangado, Director of The Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery (DSPD) dismissed such allegations levelled by the critics, arguing that the mission is to raise additional funds for the successful implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP).
He disclosed that the National Development Plan (NDP) was having funding difficulties and the need for government to partner with the private sector for the first time towards galvanizing resources is paramount to the successful implementation of the NDP.
According to Nyangado, D1.7 billion was pledged for the NDP, most of which will only come in the form of grants that includes the expenditures of ECOMIG contingent in The Gambia, disclosing that a greater number of the pledges have not been forthcoming because of the indebtedness of The Gambian economy.