The Indian President Ram Nath Kovind Wednesday became the first visiting president and head of state to address the Gambia’s National Assembly where he said discussions are underway between India and The Gambia over a line of credit worth $92 million for The Gambia.
The President is on a three-day state visit to Banjul. Earlier on Wednesday, he held a President Adama Barrow at State House where the two leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding wide range of issues.
Later in the day, he visited the National Assembly where he spoke about mutual trust and confidence between the two states. “We cherish our privileged development partnership with The Gambia. We have, in keeping with your priorities, extended support for your social and economic progress – from capacity building, financial assistance to implementing infrastructure projects.”
In the past, India had provided concessional lines of credit worth $78. 5 million to support the Gambia’s programmes of rural development, agriculture, drinking water, health care and setting up physical infrastructure.
“Another line of credit of $92 million is under active discussion. Each year, we receive Gambian youth in India for education, for skilling and for navigating the digital world.”
“India and The Gambia are not only young nations, but also have a young demography. Fostering enterprise and entrepreneurship is seminal for our development,” President Kovind told the Parliament.
The Indian leader also pledged his country’s support to making The Gambia a clean energy zone through solar projects. On June 13th, the National Assembly ratified the framework agreement on the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) tabled by National Assembly Select Committee on Environment. In this initiative, the Indian government volunteered to build the infrastructure and contribute D27 million for the Gambia’s realisation of clean energy to fight climate change.
“Today we have received your ratification of the instrument of Accession to the International Solar Alliance. We hope to help you set up solar projects and contribute to fight climate change,” said President Kovind. “These sustainable efforts would complement the recently launched India-UN project for Flood and Disaster Management in The Gambia using drones and early warning systems and contribute to your new technology assets.”
The International Solar Alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where the global community, including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporate, industry, and other stakeholders can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.
The Indian leader will leave Banjul on Thursday.