The Gambia has inaugurated the International Conference Center on Saturday and named it after the country’s founding president, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara who passed away in 2019.
The center was financed by the People’s Republic of China at the tune of 50 million US dollars ahead of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit due 2022.
“We strongly believe this project will elevate the already cordial bilateral relations between China and Gambia to a new height,” said the Chinese ambassador to Banjul, Ma Jianchun.
He said the infrastructural development is among the eight priority lines the Chinese pressing Xi Jing Ping promised to Africa at the 2018 Beijing forum.
“The Gambia government also attached significant importance to infrastructure development as highlighted in the National Development Plan 2018 – 2021.”
He said Xi Jing Ping, Chinese president has proposed eight major projects for Africa in 2018 Beijing Summit on China Africa Forum among which infrastructure is a key component.
“Today, while we are celebrating the completion of the International Conference Center, The China road and bridge project in the URR is also under construction.”
“We are winning in strengthening our relationship with The Gambia in the areas of building more infrastructural developments in The Gambia.”
Ma Jianchun.informed that naming the center after Sir D.K Jawara is their common consensus, indicating that, the founding president was a good friend of China, visiting Asia the country four times during his presidency.
He assured that the bilateral cooperation between China and Gambia will go even further in the area of agriculture.
The Minister of Transport, works and infrastructure, Bai Lamin Jobe hailed Chinese government for the support.
“The work began in September 2017 and it becomes substantially completed in October 2019, a duration of 26 months. The Gambia government provided the project land area of 13 hectares and the building itself is about 14000 square meters with two flows.”
He said throughout the planning and construction process, there was a vibrant capacity building component that was conducted locally and on the ground for the workers such as masonry, carpentry, finishing work, installation of electrical and mechanical systems.
“Recently, over 20 Gambians from different various government departments as well as from the private sector were given training in China on how to operate and manage this facility.”
The Gambia’s President, Adama Barrow said the decision to name the center after the country’s founding president is to remember his contribution to the development of The Gambia.
“As a tribute to Sir Dawda Kaiaraba Jawara, we opted to name it as Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center. The construction of this center was a prioritized project as it is a prerequisite for hosting the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in 2022.”
He said although China continues to play a significant role in Africa’s development, the assistance to fund the center in its entirety is the first of its kind in the region.
According to Barrow, the project will help in boosting tourism and development needs as reflected in the National Development Plan.
“The Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center is a fifty million dollar grant aided by the People’s Republic of China. The magnitude of the project demonstrates China’s resolve to link its development plan with development support to The Gambia and Africa as a whole.
“It’s a newly relationship rooted in a mutually beneficial cooperation formula for Africa and China. I am pleased to observe, however, that Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center is one of its kind in the region.
He said the construction technique makes it so elegant and its specifications comply with the Gambia National Public Building and Facility Policy 2018 – 2027. “The 14000 square meters with two flows with a sitting capacity of 1000 persons is the center to host major international meetings.
He assures the government proper management of the center for optimal upkeep.
“I am hopeful that the center will give the Gambia the opportunity to attract and host meetings, incentive travels, conventions, conferences and exhibition. The center will provide an opportunity for employment, open up the tourism industry market, enhanced transport services and expose our diversities and cultures to the world,” he said.
The Centre is expected to occupy a gross floor area of 14,000 square meters, which includes One (1) 1000-seat major conference hall, Four (4) 200-seat themed meeting rooms, One (1) lounge, Four (4) pressrooms and news centers, Fourteen (14) meeting rooms, office sections, Banquet halls and other accessory rooms.
The Project is located in Bijilo National Park close to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Its design is inspired by the white “waves” of the Atlantic Ocean. A spray of white waves is thus created in the cradle of azure seawater of the Atlantic and green forest of Bijilo.
It is lightly floating in the Park against the marvelous skyline of the National Park. Meanwhile, the graceful curve of the “waves” not only echoes the local geographical features but also introduces beautiful natural elements into the building itself, which achieves the harmonious union of architecture and nature.
For the main building, the main conference hall is centered on accessory functions and flow organization. Thus it fulfills the reasonableness and effectiveness of functions. The building shall be in line with standards of “being affordable, economic, eco-friendly and appealing” in terms of both design and construction. Upon completion, it will become a landmark building on the Gambia Seafront.