The Gambia M M M THE GAMBIA RIVER HAS MARKED THE LIVES OF THE 1.7 MILLION RESIDENTS OF THIS ECONOMY BUILDS MOMENTUM TINY NATION. HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO, SLAVE TRADERS USED IT TO ACCESS THE FORTRESS ON JAMES ISLAND. TODAY, WITH NEW BRIDGES AND DAMS PLANNED, THE RIVER HAS ANOTHER IMF, Paris Club applaud, MEANING: MODERNIZATION. BUT PERHAPS ITS MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION? TRANQUILITY debt relief granted ture is the strength of humanity, and as The ability to reach its fiscal Momodou Bamba Saho. “All these have far as we are concerned, religion should been driven by significant flows of FDI. targets has endeared the be a unifying factor rather than a divid- To a certain extent, this is due to the FACTS & FIGURES ing factor.” The stability that has reigned in The country to world creditors strong macroeconomic stability in The Gambia. The government has imple- Country name: Gambia since President Jammeh as- IN DECEMBER of 2007, the Internation- mented significant reforms over the past Conventional long form: sumed power in 1994 has allowed the al Monetary Fund (IMF) granted The Gam- few years, both in the Central Bank and Republic of The Gambia country the freedom to achieve signifi- bia a milestone debt relief package worth the Department of State for Finance, as Conventional short form: cant economic progress. Today, The $140 million. In a statement at the time, well as the other sectors, to make sure The Gambia Gambia boasts a liberal, market-based the IMF said that the country had made that we achieve and maintain this macro- economy, a growing tourism industry and sufficient progress in strengthening tools economic stability. Our fiscal position Location: a thriving re-export trade built around its to boost growth and combat poverty, and was also strengthened significantly. In Western Africa, bordering port. Growth has been above 6% for the had reached a “completion point” under 2007, for the first time in a decade, we the North Atlantic Ocean last few years, infrastructure has been the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries had a fiscal surplus. We have been able and Senegal strengthened and continues to be ex- (HIPC) Initiative. to restore the confidence of foreign in- panded, and the country is open to for- In January of 2008, the Paris Club fol- vestors in the economy. All these are fac- Area – comparative: eign investment. Bold steps are being lowed suit. The club of creditors, repre- tors that have contributed to the growth Slightly less than twice the taken to ensure the country’s goal of senting 19 of the world’s richest countries, in the economy.” size of Delaware achieving developed status by 2020. reached a deal with the Gambian gov- All this has had a positive effect on the “To achieve Vision 2020, we must ernment to cancel $11.6 million of the national currency, the Dalasi. In 2007, it Climate: ensure that our citizens acquire the country’s total $40 million debt. The real appreciated nearly 20% against the U.S. Tropical; hot rainy season skills required through quality educa- icing on the cake came, however, in March Dollar. 2008 forecasts are for the Gam- (June to November); cooler tion. That is the strategy. It is not just when the IMF announced that The Gam- bian currency to remain stable. Saho com- dry season about reaching Vision 2020 but sus- bia had met the requirements for full debt ments, “As a result of the appreciation of (November to May) taining it,” says the President. “Next, we relief, and that the country was well placed the Dalasi, we are able to keep prices low. must create an environment conducive to consolidate and deepen its poverty re- That has had a positive impact in terms Population: to development, an atmosphere that duction strategy while maintaining strong of inflation. which is still single-digit. If you 1,735,464 gives investors confidence, and one in gross domestic product (GDP) growth. look at other places around the world, the (July 2008 est.) which the private sector is the engine The fact of the matter is that the Gam- price of oil and food has gone up signifi- of growth. For the private sector to be bian economy has proved remarkably re- cantly. In The Gambia, we have been GDP competent and realize its potential, silient over the past three years, backed able to keep prices in check.” (purchasing power President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh, who was re-elected for his third term in 2006 there must be a transparent relation- by strong monetary policy from the cen- parity): ship with the government. Whatever tral bank and growing macroeconomic A history of peace $1.338 billion (2007 est.) we do in this country is in partnership stability. The economy grew at an aver- with the private sector, and the private age 6.4% between 2003 and 2006, and GDP – real growth rate: sector is indispensable in the achieve- was estimated at 7% last year, buoyed 7% (2007 est.) ment of Vision 2020. by a 11.3% increase in the service sec- “This country has always been cited tor’s value-added production. Further- Industries: as the smallest country on earth. How- more, efforts to diversify the economy Processing peanuts, fish, THE GAMBIA RIVER is a dominating fea- the peaceful nature of those who reside ever, good things can come from small through tourism and re-exports have been and hides; tourism, ture of life in The Gambia. This great West along its banks. Located around the flood countries like ours. My vision was to successful in broadening the country’s beverages, agricultural African river stretches from the country’s plains of the Gambia River, and occupy- make The Gambia one of the best coun- export base, fuelled by rising levels of for- machinery assembly, Atlantic coast 186 miles into its interior, di- ing an area roughly half the size of Mary- tries in the world. If a small country like eign direct investment (FDI). woodworking, metalworking, viding residents into north or south bank land, is Africa’s smallest nation. Singapore can do it, why not The Gam- “The recent economic growth in The clothing inhabitants. Steamers can navigate the Geographically surrounded by Senegal on bia? My hope was to make the small- Gambia has been driven by the servic- river for 140 miles inland, which, for the first all sides except for its 50 miles of Atlantic est country on earth the best country es sector; mainly in the field of telecom- Exports – commodities: 80 miles, is fringed with mangrove-cov- coastline, The Gambia is one of West on earth. To this day, that is the vision munications, construction, and tourism,” MOMODOU BAMBA SAHO Peanut products, fish, ered banks, later giving way to red cliffs Africa’s most peaceful nations, and ac- that I have.” confirms the central bank’s governor, Governor of the Central Bank cotton lint, palm kernels, topped with green vegetation. Dotted with cording to the World Economic Forum, one re-exports ferries, fishermen in dugout canoes and cut- of the top three least corrupt countries on ters loaded with groundnuts, the river of- the continent. Exports – partners: fers the occasional glimpse of hippopotami The nation’s love for peace extends be- India 38.6%, UK 15.9%, and crocodiles surfacing, and baboons yond its borders. The Gambia has played Indonesia 7.9%, France 7%, playing along its banks. an important role in regional peace process- Italy 4.6% (2006) Alex Haley, who wrote the American nov- es – it recently hosted the African Union el Roots, said that it was the Gambia Riv- Summit, and President Yahya Jammeh, Source: CIA World Factbook er that helped him trace his ancestors. Of who was reelected for his third term in the few African words passed down in his 2006, has been actively involved in medi- family, Kamby Bolongo had survived. He ating the Guinea-Bissau peace process This Advertising Supplement discovered that bolongo was a moving wa- and ensuring stability in the Senegalese is produced by InterCom Ltd and did not involve the ter, or river, in Mandinka, the language of region of Casamance. reporting The Gambia’s main ethnic group. Later, “Peace and stability are indispensable or editorial staff of the when he traveled to Jaffure, a village on pre-requisites for human development. International Herald Tribune. the north bank of the river, his theory was Without them, we cannot move forward,” confirmed. The Mandika language does states the President. “If we live according Intercom U.K. Ltd. not have a ‘g’ sound; the river is thus pro- to tribes, there is bound to be conflict; and Regus – St. James’s Park nounced Kambiya rather than Gambia. if we live based on races, there’s bound to 50 Broadway The tranquility of the river is reflected in be racism. Our diversity in color and cul- London, SW1H 0RG Tel: +44 20 7629 5870 Fax: +44 20 7629 5337 www.intercom-ltd.com Intercom Ltd. would like to extend a special thank you to: His Excellency, Mr. MICHAEL TENN Commercial Management: Christopher Fuchs President ALHAJI Dr YAHYA CEO of Spectrum Group and Chairman Nora Guessooum A.J.J. JAMMEH of the Board of GAMTEL Nicole Goergen President of the Republic JUMA JANNEH of The Gambia Protocol Officer of Department of State ALHAJI MOMODOU SANYANG for Foreign Affairs Our reports can be viewed Director General of the LAMIN CAMARA online at: Gambia Radio & Television Services Principal ICT Officer for Department www.intercom-ltd.com Management team of of State for Communications & GAMPETROLEUM Information Technology The Gambia THE GAMBIA IS a country under construction. You can see it New super bank offers development financing and conventional banking Building the wherever you look: to the west, the port is growing, scurrying to keep up with rising demand. Around the capital, the airport is gleaming with new facilities, a repaved and newly-lit runway and a new Free Zone. Along both banks of the Gambia River, heavy machinery grinds daily to lay new roads. New hotels, gateway to Africa new buildings and new homes are going up, and they are big- From left to right: ger and better quality than ever. Dodou Bammy Jagne, The country’s Vision 2020, in which it aims to be a modern, Deputy General Manager, developed state by that year, is literally visible on a daily ba- Niania Dabo, Head of sis. Lamin A. Bojang is The Gambia’s Secretary of State for In- Retail Banking, and frastructure, Works and Construction. In short, he is the man Mohamed Khaled charged with overseeing this beehive of activity. Here he speaks Shalbek, General Bridges, roads, buildings, railway, ports and airports: on the most important developments now going on in the coun- Manager The Gambia is flexing its infrastructure strength, laying, in the try, and what opportunities exist for foreign companies to be- come involved. FOLLOWING MEMBERSHIP IN THE Sa- Sad member states. In The Gambia, Pres- process, the foundations to support Vision 2020 and its bid to helo-Saharan (CEN-SAD) Community, ident Yahya Jammeh himself gave the green establish itself as a regional trade gateway. Infrastructure is fundamental to the modernization and comprised of 26 countries in the region, The light for Secretary of State for Finance and competitiveness of a nation, and is the first thing an in- Gambia also became a member of the Economic Affairs M.G. Balla Gaye to acquire ‘As far as infrastructure is concerned, we have the port vestor will look at. What is current state of infrastructure group’s regional bank, Banque Sahelo-Sa- shares on behalf of the government. and airport expansion, the bridge work across the country, and in The Gambia? herienne Pour L’Investment et Le Com- Deputy general manager, Dodou Bam- When it comes to road transport, right now we are building private contractors can invest in them or become the financers,’ merce (BSIC). The bank group, which is my Jagne, says, “The duality of BSIC’s chaired by Alhadi Alwarfalli, now boasts charter makes it distinctly unique but also says the man overseeing all this construction frenzy CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE twelve affiliate banks operating in Libya, heightens its responsibility to ensure that Chad, Mali, Niger, Sudan, Burkina Faso, through their operations, BSIC will be a key Benin, Togo, Senegal, The Gambia, Ghana actor in the transformation of the economy.” and Central Africa, and plans are to have Head of retail banking, Niania Dabo, adds: affiliates in most member countries within “Within the next five years, we want to be a five years. major contributor towards bringing interest BSIC is a super bank as it is chartered to rates down in the economy.” Already, BSIC provide services as a development bank for has set new standards by significantly re- the medium- and long-term financing of proj- ducing the minimum deposit for savings ac- ects in cooperation with other regional and counts to almost a quarter of the industry international financial institutions and spe- rate, proving that, indeed, BSIC Gambia is cialized investment guarantee institutions, the ‘people’s bank’. such as WABD, ADB, IDB, FAGACE, GARI, Shalbek says that BSIC plans to introduce and FSA, with an emphasis on poverty re- Visa Cards and Electronic Payment Ser- duction. The bank also offers full conven- vices shortly in The Gambia’s cash-driven tional banking. economy. He invites the Gambian diaspo- According to BSIC General Manager Mo- ra and international investors to join in and hamed Khaled Shalbek, “The main purpose grow with BSIC. for setting up the bank was to contribute to The Gambia’s economic development in BSIC – Gambia Ltd. line with the government’s Vision 2020.” 52 Kairaba Avenue, Banjul Consequently, the bank offers products and Telephone: +220 449 8077 services that are far more competitive than Fax: +220 449 8080 any other bank operating in the market. This SWIFT: BSAHGMGM is possible because the bank’s capital of PMB: 204, KSMD €500 million is backed by shareholder CEN- Email: email@example.com SSHFC ‘A catalyst for development’ The state social security Nearly 90% of The Gambia’s trade now flows through the Port of Banjul, which is growing at an unprecedented rate agency is investing heavily in SSHFC oversees the entire project management for its housing developments The Gambia’s economy, and CIVIL AVIATION & PORTS AUTHORITY is a prime mover in the Danso adds that SSHFC has also invested construction sector where opportunities for partnerships abound heavily in the central bank’s treasury bills, where the institution boasts of the largest portfolio of T-bills. Apart from its involvement in the country’s financial sector (SSHFC owns Sometimes, small is beautiful ONE OF THE GAM- 37% of Trust Bank Ltd, 16% of Standard While Banjul International regional benchmark, and the security bia’s bid to establish itself as a regional BIA’S largest financial Chartered Bank, and 23% of AGI Bank), Airport is making strides level at Banjul is one of Africa’s highest. transport hub is sea transport. While Ban- institutions is not a fi- SSHFC also has equity investments in many The airport has been cleared for flights jul Airport is making strides in setting itself nancial institution per of the country’s small- and medium-sized in setting itself apart from to the States by the FAA, and participates apart from regional competitors, the Port se, but the country’s So- companies, effectively providing capital sup- regional competitors, the in the Open Skies agreement. Banjul al- of Banjul continues to make its own waves cial Security and Housing Finance Corpo- port to a number of budding industries. Port of Banjul continues to so offers the lowest tariffs in the region, as The Gambia Ports Authority works to ration (SSHFC). “This way, we are able to ensure that which include the exemption of landing establish it as a leading maritime center make its own waves With net profits of $94 million last year some of these companies that are not do- and take-off charges in some cases. The for trade, logistics and distribution. and stakes in most of the country’s banks, ing very well can pick themselves up and FANSU BOJANG has big plans for Ban- airport has a new Free Zone, just oper- Like Banjul Airport, the Port of Banjul is SSHFC, whose funds are worker-held, has start operating successfully;” says the man- jul International Airport. The director ational, with state-of-the-art infrastructure. one of the safest in Africa. It also forms an activities in both social security and hous- aging director. general of the Civil Aviation Authority In short, it has more than a handful of important role in the country’s trade activi- ing development as well as being a major SSHFC also generates economic activ- wants to see the airport establish itself advantages over other regional airports ties. Indeed, 90% of total trade now flows investor in the national economy. ity through its housing developments, cre- as a regional base for long haul flights. to become a West African air hub, and through the port, according to Muhammed “By far, our biggest portfolio is the social ating employment in construction and He wants to see regional air connec- this is exactly what the government has Lamin Gibba, managing director of Gam- security component,” says Managing Di- stimulating related industries such as build- tivity increase. He wants the airport to been aiming for. bia Ports Authority, who says that it is truly rector Tumbul K. Danso. “Because of the ing materials. The agency oversees the en- take on a greater role in stimulating re- “A good air transport system is more MUHAMMED LAMIN GIBBA an engine of growth for the country, and is amalgamation of all the resources in these tire project management on its projects from gional trade. And he wants to establish than significant for the economic growth for Managing Director, Gambia Ports Authority key in its development. companies, we are the number one finan- hiring contractors to managing mortgages. a Gambian-based carrier. His ambitions any country. The Gambian government has Also like the country’s airport, the Port of cial institution in the country. We are far big- The agency is keen on involving private are not misplaced. provided an opportunity for this, and The Banjul is run by smart and ambitious man- ger than all the banks operating in The companies in its activites. Danso says, “We First of all, Banjul Airport still has Gambia is a country that needs it,” says Bo- agement, who are highly motivated to be Gambia. Because of that, we have strong are very interested in any viable partnership. excess capacity with room to take jang. “That is why we pay particular atten- the best and have established their facili- links with almost all the financial institutions. We see ourselves as a catalyst for devel- on a number of new flights. The air- tion to quality in terms of both infrastructure ties as the most efficient in the region. “In addition, we have been actively in- opment, and we keep ourselves open to all port has and continues to undergo and service. Although we are accessible by As Gibba says, “Sometimes, small is vesting in housing projects since 1982, and sorts of opportunities.” expansion and modernization, which land, we are on the Atlantic coast of Africa. beautiful, and we are only small in terms of we are the biggest provider of mass hous- has made it one of the region’s best. By our nature, we need air access, really, population. We are very efficient and this ing in the country.” www.sshfc.gm The Civil Aviation Authority is also a not only for regional integration, but also for efficiency brings in businesses from else- intercontinental accessibility. Therefore, we where. We have one of the fastest ship turn- have put a lot of emphasis on the develop- around times and the easiest documentation ment of this sector so that Banjul becomes procedure in the sub-region.” easily accessible both by air and by sea.” Unlike Banjul Airport, however, the Port Air service is particularly important in of Banjul suffers from excess (and rising) developing nations such as The Gambia demand and insufficient capacity. Measures as it allows the country to develop its to correct this are underway as Gibba is de- trade activities even though road infra- FANSU BOJANG termined to create room for the port’s growth. structure may be weak. “The state of the Director General, Civil Aviation Authority He is now in the advanced stages of talks road service is a well-known fact and it with the African Development Bank to se- hampers the movement of trade in terms addition to having one of the most compet- cure a loan for deepening the port’s access of people and goods, therefore a reliable itive airports in the region,” says Bojang. channel, and expansion of facilities on land air access in terms of credible and reli- “Congestion is not a problem. We can pro- is now taking place. able airlines is a must if we are to pro- vide turnaround for most airlines we use here. “At the moment, we are generating a mote regional integration,” adds Bojang. We also have specialized packages for new million metric tons per year at the ports. “Along the way, we will look at the road airlines that are wishing to establish oper- The growth in traffic has prompted the service, and at some point they also need ation to Banjul or from Banjul to other des- need to expand our port to face the chal- to be brought up to speed to improve on tinations. Sometimes we give up to a 50% lenges of congestion and maintain our fast the efficiency of the movement of goods annual discount on some of the existent tar- turnaround time,” he says. “The port will and services.” iffs or complete free-landing in extreme cas- be expanded on the land side. We have Until then, the government is investing es. Normally, however, we would work with embarked on several projects to do this heavily in Banjul Airport, which since 1994 airlines and look at the cost and core struc- and in the near future more berths will be has received a new terminal building and ture to see what we could do as a tarmac available coupled with more space for a new tower. The airport’s runway is now to help them accept the high costs that are accommodating bigger ships. We will not being resurfaced and lighting has been associated with starting operations.” limit ourselves to one million metric tons placed along it. Next up is a new fire serv- Looking ahead, the biggest challenge for per year. At the moment we have in- ice station, expansion of the airport’s ex- the airport is to establish a credible long creased demand so we need to increase isting capacity and renewal of the entire haul airline based in the country, according the space for our container terminal.” navigation and communication aid sys- to Bojang, who says that once that is He adds that the port welcomes partners tem. In short, the airport is an attractive achieved, the rest is history. “We can get to in this expansion, especially in the con- base for airlines looking for stopover South Africa through a Gambian airline. It struction of new terminals, the introduction points on the west coast. is certain to divert almost all the North Amer- of new technology and know-how in im- “We have excess capacity and that is ican and European flights through Banjul.” proving loading and unloading procedures one of our strongest selling points now in The other side of the coin in The Gam- as well as in cargo distribution. The Gambia CONTINUED FROM THE PREVIOUS PAGE implement a better maintenance system. the private sector to lead in the country. The tractors. Then we have a lot of small and medium-sized con- We are hoping to connect communities that private sector is really taking the lead role tractors, who are highly-skilled. That is one of the sectors that is the roads on the south end [of the river], so within 12 or 18 have never had roads before. The key in driving the economy. moving very fast and creating a lot of employment. It is not only months, you will be able to reach any part of the country by role of this department is to make sure that in the tourism sector either, but also in the private sector. There car. We are also working on the airport. We aim to have an air- the road network will be reinstated, and Is the necessary infrastructure in place is a lot of construction going on. Houses are being built. The econ- port that is as good as any airport in the region in the sense of we have two contracts at the moment. to support the Gateway Project, which omy is very vibrant. The thing about this country is mortgages size and with state-of-the-art infrastructure. We have a good One end section is being built by Kharafi seeks to establish the country as a ma- are not freely available, unlike developed countries. Here it comes ICAO rating. Even the FAA has given us security clearance. Group. It is important to have another in- jor export and trade center? from your pocket. If there is a lot of building going on, that means This is very important for us. These days security for airports vestor there. It would make a big differ- I think there is still room for improve- people have a lot of money. What’s more, the kind of houses that is very important. If you do not have that kind of clearance, you ence as both banks of the river would be ment. We have developed the Free Zone we have been building in the last 15 or 20 years are not the same cannot operate fully; fortunately for us, we have it. You can de- fully covered. at the airport. We have warehouses there, as the ones we are building today. They have become more at- part from Gambia to any destination in the West. We ensure and that is part of the infrastructure. I think tractive and more expensive. That means something good is hap- that security is guaranteed. We have a good port too, and right What opportunities are available for a lot of work can still be done in that area, pening in the economy. It is a good indicator. now we have a project for port expansion. The only aspect of foreign investors? though. We will take the initiative to develop the infrastructure which we have not addressed yet is the riv- One of the projects we are looking at is this. There is a lot of land that is well placed With so much growth going on, what do you see as your er port. There is still no construction on that. We are also look- building a major bridge to Senegal. Sene- LAMIN A. BOJANG both for airport and seaport. This can de- biggest challenge in the future? ing at the possibility of putting a railway system in place. This gal has two sides, the north and the south, Secretary of State for Infrastructure, velop fast into an expanded area for the The big challenge for me is funding. It is an issue. The has to try to link up with the hinterland of the West of Africa and it has to cross that. Transport traffic Works and Construction free zones. major development and projects in works and infrastruc- from Senegal all the way to Mali. is high so this is one of the main things ture, we will accomplish in time. We are also involved in an we are working on. As far as infrastructure in concerned, we In 2006, the construction sector grew by 40%. Do you think urban infrastructure project now as the urban sector is ex- What is the priority at the moment? have the port and airport expansion, and the bridge work across this growth will continue? panding very fast and infrastructure is not catching up. One Right now, the priority is road construction. It is a huge proj- the country, and private contractors can invest in them or be- When we look at the construction sector, we have more or less of the biggest challenges for the future will be to develop ect. The roads need a lot of maintenance. The network had come the financers. One of the key things that our president two sectors. We have the construction of roads or bridges. Those urban infrastructure that provides quality of life. So, urban been left to decay. Much of it just fell apart. We are trying to has in mind is the development of a government that allows are big projects, in which we are able to use international con- infrastructure is another challenge. KHARAFI GROUP NAWEC Raising investor confidence and developing infrastructure Integrated, independent, AS THE GAMBIA’S ECONOMY flour- tion of a private power plant and saw its investment completed and operational While officials would be happy to receive further investment in the sector to supply international ishes, demands for energy, water and sewerage services to fuel and nourish development projects seven months later. The addition of the 25MW plant gave Gambians a solid foun- dation to build upon. “We now have a re- liable 24 hour electricity supply from the whole country, their focus is more on the transmission and distribution infra- structures. “There are a lot of people with- in the greater Banjul area and the western Global contracting giant Kharafi Group has a presence throughout Africa, arriving in The increases. The National Water and Elec- NAWEC, which we believe will bring back region who need electricity but are out- Gambia in 2003, where it has a number of mega-projects underway to boost development tricity Company Limited (NAWEC) has investor confidence in the country,” Mr. Jal- side the network coverage area. This is the important role of overseeing that those low said. The government is following up why we need some investments in the YOU START OUT in the Balkans. Catch tals, housing developments, irrigation transfer and leadership on how to con- demands are met in a timely and efficient the success of the project with additional transmission and distribution network as a flight in Sofia Airport, Bulgaria, hop on systems, water treatment plants, oil and struct complicated projects.” fashion. Thus far, the state-owned com- investments that will add more than 20 soon as possible.” over to Albania, landing in the snow at gas pipelines and ports. MAK is a ma- In infrastructure development, Kharafi pany has done very well with limited re- megawatts. The Gambia is now ahead of most of Rinas Airport. It’s cold but you’ve got jority shareholder in Americana, the has been building highways on both the sources; however, it would like foreign its neighboring countries in terms of cov- some comfort in mind. You’re booked at largest and most successful restaurant north and south banks of the Gambia investors to step in and collaborate in the erage. More than 40 percent of the coun- the Sheraton Tirana Hotel & Towers. A and food manufacturing company in the River. The south bank road construction process of extending water, electricity, try is covered. Bringing electricity to the cab travels over the 25 kilometers or so Middle East, owner of Albania Airlines, in particular, says Nagaty, should help and sewerage services to all corners of majority of regions where it is unavailable to the city center and you’re getting the and has majority investments in a num- ease transport in the country, and allow the country. is a major priority and part of a national five-star treatment in no time. After a ber of Kuwait’s leading financial institu- Gambians better access to the interior “Electricity is the driving force behind de- grid plan. There has been talk of introducing drink in one of the bars, you go for a tions and listed companies. Its diversified as well as to neighboring Senegal. Kharafi velopment. Unreliable electricity supply alternative energy sources such as wind swim. For dinner, you’ve got a treat activities worldwide include infrastruc- is also the main contractor on the Ban- affects all sectors,” observed Momodou and solar energy to rural communities. planned – the Chateau Linza on the out- ture development, real estate, agro-in- jul Airport renovation, phase one of which Jallow, managing director for NAWEC. As far as legal guarantees go, Mr. Jal- skirts of the city near Dajti Mountain. As dustries, manufacturing, investment and it expects to complete this spring. Com- He and other officials know that if they want low said: “We have the legal framework you dine on some of the best gourmet tourism development. prising a complete runway upgrade (the to support The Gambia’s economic growth and a regulator in place. It encourages the food in those parts, your gaze lingers on Active, of course, in Kuwait and the Gambian airport has one of the longest they will need to get power to more areas participation of investors and assures them the lights of Tirana spread like jewels be- greater Gulf region, where it was found- runways in Africa), the work will enable of the country. that we have systems in place that safe- fore you. ed as a trading company more than 100 greater flight capacity for the capital’s Involvement from the private sector has guard their investments, guaranteeing free No time to waste, though. You’ve got airport, effectively boosting tourism. already worked well in The Gambia. The The Kotu power plant has made a reliable, 24-hour and fair competition once they are ready business in Beirut. You pick up your rental “Other than road projects, we are al- government commissioned the construc- electricity supply possible. to participate.” in the underground parking at Beirut In- so involved in the first branded 5-star ternational Airport and speed off to the project in The Gambia, the Sheraton. Four Seasons. Next day, you’re driving We are the employer and the contrac- down the Latakia Ariha Highway in Syr- tor, working with Starwood. It was a $45 CFAO ia on your way to Aleppo. More busi- million project, and this is its first year of ness. You check into the Bab Al-Faraj Sheraton. Next it’s the Marsa Alam In- ternational Airport in Egypt, some diving while you stay at the Coral Beach Al-Ar- years ago, Kharafi has established a operations. So far, it has helped promote tourism, attracting a whole new breed of tourists into the country. It also gives The Gambia an edge in hosting the African The leader in specialized ish Resort, a layover in the Male Inter- national Airport in The Maldives before on to South Africa, where you stay in the Sheraton in Pretoria. Finally, you arrive in The Gambia. growing presence in south-eastern Eu- rope, the Caribbean and Africa, arriving in The Gambia in 2003. Mohamed Nagaty, West Africa area manager for the group, says that The Summit successfully.” It is in agriculture, however, that Kharafi is perhaps making its most significant mark in the country. It has invested more than $6 million in farms and packaging distribution in Africa With a presence in 33 African countries, Saint Laurent, Puma, and Fnac, Europe’s leading retailer of cul- You touch down at Banjul Internation- Gambia is promising, and in compari- plants that produce a variety of fresh tural and technology products. With more than 10,200 employees al Airport, your window offering tantaliz- son to its neighbors, very progressive. vegetables for export to Europe. More im- CFAO sold nearly 70,000 new cars last year across the globe, CFAO is active in 40 markets worldwide, and is ing glimpses of the North Atlantic. You “We are very optimistic about the growth portantly, they also provide food securi- and delivered 136 million boxes of medicine the leading automobile and pharmaceutical company in Africa, head for the five-star Kairaba Beach Ho- of the country, and we expect to devel- ty at home. where it has a presence in 33 countries, as well as the French “THE GROUP WAS CREATED IN 1887 in Marseille, France. It Overseas Departments and Territories and Vietnam. tel & Resort, and the golden sands of op more projects. Really, I am impressed. Nagaty comments, “There should be was a trading company at this time and the first branch was set up Last year, the company had a turnover of 2.5 billion euros from Kololi beach, just twenty minutes from the The country is very open. The govern- fewer problems in terms of importing in St. Louis du Senegal. airport in the Kombos tourist area. After ment is very helpful in terms of promot- food and dealing with the complications its four divisions: CFAO Automotive, which represented nearly 60% The company imported goods into Africa, and exported local goods of revenues; Eurapharma, its pharmaceutical division and second- checking in, you visit the health club. ing investment and providing the of transport. If you have a steady source from various points in the African continent – from Senegal, The largest revenue generator; CFAO Industries and Trading, involved Then it’s another dip in the pool, where environment conducive for business. It of food internally, you are safe. This is Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast...That is how it started,” states Cyril in the production and distribution of consumer goods and equip- you have a drink at the pool bar. It’s been is one of the better countries in this re- one of the reasons behind this strategic Gilger, Managing Director of CFAO in The Gambia. ment; and CFAO Technologies, dedicated to the distribution and in- a great trip, and one that has, in fact, been gard.” decision. Secondly, the country will save “We used to sell rubber, machines and cars. Since 1997, we tegration of information and communication technologies, mainly brought to you by Kuwait’s Kharafi Group Nagaty says Kharafi, which currently a lot in terms of foreign currency be- have expanded into the Mahgreb in North Africa and to Eastern in the voice, data and images processing and networking markets. – the company that built all of the above. has projects in construction, tourism and cause they do not have to import. Third- and Austral Africa. As for The Gambia, we used to have activities “Worldwide, we sold 69.8 thousand new vehicles and delivered all around the river; we used to be far bigger, indeed, than what 136 million boxes of medicine last year,” says Mr. Gilger. “We bring A multi-national company with an an- agriculture in The Gambia, initially entered ly, we are generating employment. This we are now,” he continues. our knowledge and expertise into the continent and set the stan- nual turnover of $5 billion and a work- the country to fulfill a corporate mission is quite labor-intensive, especially in “There was a time when we were the only big foreign company dards for our sector. We are an example of how a business can force of over 100,000 employees working of contributing to development in lesser terms of harvesting, packing, etc. Fourth- here. With the liberalization and globalization of the market, we in 28 countries, Kharafi Group (MAK) is developed regions. “It’s not just about ly, we intend to train the surrounding be successful in Africa.” have investors coming in from all over the world. It’s easy to see a Grade A international contractor. Not making a profit,” he adds. “We are cre- farmers or villagers in how to plant onions why – the market is attractive despite its size. The Gambia is strate- only the name behind a number of the ating opportunities and generating em- and potatoes so they can do it on their gically located and it has political stability.” world’s airports and hotels, Kharafi Group ployment. 99% of the manpower that we own in their own farms in order to improve CFAO Group is a whole subsidiary of PPR Group, a global play- has also constructed many of its hospi- use is local. We promote knowledge local production.” er in retail and luxury goods and the name behind Gucci, Yves GIPFZA GIPFZA leads Gateway Project First stop for investors is also Gambia Divestiture Agency, the financing men, had the wisdom to bring in Interna- responsible for converting of training for both the private and public tional Development Ireland Ltd., known sector involved in investment and Free globally for their investment promotion and the nation into trade gateway Zone-related business (with briefings on Free Zone activities, to aid in the start-up SINCE IT WAS formed in 2001, the Gam- U.S. and European market access regu- of the project. For the first two years, the bia Investment Promotion and Free Zones lations), project management, environ- Irish company sent consultants back and Agency (GIPFZA) has lost no time in launch- mental studies and mitigation measures. forth to The Gambia, maintaining one per- ing the country’s ambitious Gateway Pro- “The Gateway Project is a development manent employee in the country for the du- ject. Indeed, it was the first program to be program funded by the Government of ration of that time. This, says Njie, got the implemented by the fledgling body, hand- The Gambia and The World Bank. It has project off on the right footing, and has picked for the superior business knowledge a 10-year lifespan. We have just conclud- “put us in a very sound position.” of its staff. Aimed at positioning The Gam- ed the first five years, and are looking for- The new Free Zone, which occupies 160 bia as a globally competitive export and ward to the second phase,” says GIPFZA hectares near the airport in Banjul, is now processing center, the Gateway Project is managing director Kebba Njie. “The ob- fully operational. Investors can literally set a key component of the government’s strat- jective of the project is to establish The up business in a day, according the Njie. egy for achieving broad-based, export-ori- Gambia as a competitive destination for “Apart from the national grid, we have ented and sustained growth. foreign and domestic investments. To installed a backup of 1.3 MW. The sewage The Gateway Project was designed to achieve this, it was necessary to improve and treatment of waste is installed. We be implemented in two five-year phases, the operating environment and the in- also have a water backup system, in ad- the first of which has just been complet- vestment climate with respect to the legal dition to the national grid. We have de- ed. Phase one involved putting the phys- framework, infrastructure, skills develop- veloped 200,000 square meters of ical infrastructures in place for an ment, and fiscal support for investment. That shopping and office space. It’s built and operational Free Zone at the airport as is what we have been basically engaged ready,” he adds. “We have also just es- well as the creation of GIPFZA itself to in for the past six or seven years since the tablished our first tenant in the park. They oversee the Free Zone and promote trade agency was established.” are in the garment industry. Initially, they and investment activities. Later phases GIPFZA, whose elite management team expect to create 200 jobs, which will will include technical assistance for the was chosen for their sharp business acu- eventually move up to 500 jobs.” The Gambia GAM-PETROL Distribution, storage Mandinari to boost oil and gas supply in the region big business here The new storage facility will have capacity for six months of reserves of national consumption PROBLEM number one: lack of a do- ing built according to international stan- mestic oil supply. Problem number two: dards with regards to quality and safety and insufficient storage capacity for oil im- environmental standards. Launched in ports. These factors have been limit- 2005, the project through its increased fu- Service companies are tion networks, providing everything from lu- ing the reliable supply of petroleum in el storage capacity will have attendant rip- cleaning up in this oil industry bricants to Internet access and, in the The Gambia over the last decade, and ple effects on availability and prices which process, connecting rural areas. while domestic oil production still looms in turn have major bearing on domestic de- IS THERE OIL in The Gambia? While seis- Gam-Petroleum is building the sub-re- tantalizingly on the horizon, increasing velopments. The one existing terminal in mic studies have indicated the possible gion’s largest oil and gas storage contain- storage capacity is not only a possibil- the country was built in the 1940s, and has presence of both oil and gas, and the gov- er facility which is set to boost supply not ity but with the new Gam-Petroleum a limited capacity of just one month of na- ernment claims to have irrefutable proof of only in The Gambia but also in neighboring Storage Depot is soon to be a reality. tional fuel consumption. This has meant that their existence, exploration is ongoing. For countries, and could become a top West Not only will the new storage facility pro- petroleum imports had to be timed pre- now, the country continues to import 100% African stopover for refueling on the world’s vide enough capacity to maintain reli- cisely. When shipments were delayed, it of its oil and gas needs. This has led, how- international shipping routes. The govern- able supply in The Gambia, it will also often resulted in stock-outs, and a stop in ever, to a thriving storage and distribution ment, for its part, is promoting renewable provide for six months of reserves – a supply. Worsening the situation has been sector as companies such as Total and El- energy sources; The Gambia has high po- first in the country’s history. the growth of residential areas surround- ton Oil Company enhance their service sta- tential for both solar and wind energy. The long overdue fuel depot is be- ing the old terminal, creating an environ- mental hazard for residents. After winning a tender for the new ter- TOTAL minal four years ago, Gam-Petroleum be- gan a comprehensive search for a new A small but important market location. This was complicated by the fact that much of the suitable areas were lo- cated too close to the Gambia River, where the soil was not firm enough. After sever- The Gam-Petroleum fuel storage depot will be the largest and most modern in the sub- International energy group is It currently operates 11 service stations al tests, the company decided on Mandi- region, providing a steady supply set to stay in what is a minor in the Greater Banjul area and 8 serv- nari in north Banjul. to The Gambia that will help ice stations in the provinces, which are “Consequently, we commenced the con- stabilize prices market with major helping to connect rural areas. All are struction phase for a depot with sufficient opportunities strategically located nationwide provid- capacity for at least six months of local ing various quality services: fuels, lubri- consumption which gives the country a expected due to special building require- nal acting as a bunkering hub for ves- SINCE 1987, Total has been growing cants, vehicle servicing, car wash safety cushion in case of world market cri- ments, Bazzi says that the terminal will sels en route to South America and steadily in The Gambia, providing na- facilities, and convenient boutiques. Al- sis,” states Gam-Petroleum’s managing pay itself off shortly as it gains in regional South Africa. It could become a refill- tionwide coverage with its network of though the company’s core activity is director Mohamed Bazzi. significance. He says, “The significance of ing station for those vessels.” service stations. The Gambia is a small the operation of its service stations, it is Built according to international standards the project lies in the fact that we have had Indeed, the Gam-Petroleum fuel stor- but very important market for this inter- also actively involved in liquid storage with SGS certification, the total storage ca- to build on a very weak soil, thus leading age depot will be the largest in the sub- national energy group, active in 130 and distribution, in aviation and as a lu- pacity of the project is 51,000 metric tons to a much higher civil works cost arising region, providing a steady supply to countries. In The Gambia, Total is shar- bricant distributor. of light and heavy fuel oils as well as liq- from the need for stronger foundations. The Gambia that will help stabilize ing its global wealth of expertise, expe- In line with Total’s commitment to ac- uid propane gas, and includes 19 loading This was compounded by the fact that we prices and creating a better environ- rience and high quality services, while tively participating in the development of bays for tanker trucks, three sub-marine had to lay three submarine pipelines over ment for foreign investors. The termi- bringing better products to the market and ALBERT ROGER BOUM each country it operates in, TGL also pipelines of 2,500 meters each, state-of- a distance of 2.5 kilometers to access a nal will include a storage facility for offering higher environmental safety stan- Managing Director of Total-Gambia Ltd. plays an active role in CSR in The Gam- the-art technology in gauging and meter- suitable draft for birthing big fuel tankers. heavy fuel oil. The only other heavy fu- dards. bia, promoting initiatives to fight AIDS and ing equipment and a full LPG bottling plant. “However, neighboring countries in el oil storage facilities in the country are As a sign of continued commitment to that it is a part of The Gambia. This is malaria, and sponsors activities in youth The total cost of the project is estimated the sub-region such as Mali and Guinea located at the power plants, which has The Gambia, Total recently inaugurated what we also said during the inaugural development and health and social as- at €30 million over a three year period. Fi- Bissau, amongst others, are currently meant extra costs in transport as fuel new headquarters in the national capi- ceremony here, with the new head of- sistance. “We do not want to be in a nancing is partly equity from Gam-Petro- accessing their fuel requirements from was tanked to the plants from the ships. tal. Albert Roger Boum, Managing Di- fice, and it was also decided with the head country that has problems without help- leum’s holding group, partly from Total distant supply hubs at a very high cost, Bazzi says that the new depot will elim- rector of Total-Gambia Ltd (TGL), says office in Paris. We are going to stay ing,” says TGL’s managing director. “This International, which will be the exclusive and would be very happy to substitute inate this cost by direct transfer of the the new office symbolises the image of here.” is an important part of our business. supplier of petroleum products for the new their supply channels with our termi- heavy fuel oil into the tanks with no wait- Total in the country as a company that Through its service station network Every year, we have a program. Total has terminal, and partly from European and lo- nal, which is better geared to supply ing period, and that this cost reduction has become part of the Gambian land- and other services, TGL has become decided that 2008 will be the year to cal banks. these neighboring countries efficient- will be felt directly by the consumer in scape. He remarks, “Total has decided one of the country’s leading companies. fight against malaria.” Although initial costs were higher than ly. Furthermore, we foresee the termi- lower prices. ELTON Want modern? Refuel in The Gambia IS IT STILL POSSIBLE is its advanced customer recognition tech- doing can only be done if you have a long- for travelers to come nology. “We introduced E-ZEE, which us- term view.” across an oasis in the es smart card technology and allows you Elton’s quick ascent and sustained modern surroundings of to buy fuel if you don’t have cash with a cred- profits parallel the rise of The Gambia as The Gambia? Edrissa Mass Jobe, manag- it-based system. We even have an auto- a whole. The country has worked hard ing director of the Elton Oil Company, an up- mated system that recognizes your car, to modernize its infrastructures and im- and-coming Gambian oil distribution firm, your fueling requirements and even keeps prove the business climate. “You have to wants to believe so. He wants motorists to a historical record for you.” give the President a lot of credit for his feel as if they are stepping into an oasis It is remarkable to think that in the courage and ambition for this country.” each time they stop at one of his compa- heart of sub-Saharan Africa, drivers can Solid leadership and economic reforms ny’s service stations. The petrol stations are get more advanced pump technology have given Gambian entrepreneurs the equipped with restaurants, cybercafés and than what is available in greater Europe drive and framework not only to succeed business centers, giving them more of a feel and the United States. Mr. Jobe claims in their own country but on the world mar- of a miniature town than a service station. the strategy is part of his long-term in- ket. “Our vision for the future is to make Elton inaugurated its first service station vestment plan for the company. “Invest- Elton a global brand. Our ambition is to in 2002 and has since fought off fierce com- ment in infrastructure like what Elton is one day go to London and have a petrol petition for control of The Gambia’s petrol station in Leicester Square.” market. In just six years of operation, the company has risen to second place in terms of retail. “We have the advantage of not see- ing ourselves merely as an oil company,” Mr. Jobe stated. “We see ourselves as a retailer and fuel is just one of the products that we offer.” Customers are treated to a range of serv- ices that redefine the phrase ‘full-service’, including cybercafés, car washes, service centers and restaurants. Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the service stations Elton offers more than just a place to fill your tank; you can also eat, shop, and surf the Net Banjul Port, the fast track to the ECOWAS Market, offers you the opportunity of delivering your goods to your customers “right on time”. The newly built Gam Petroleum fuel storage depot is the biggest in So many reasons to do business in The Gambia. The Gambia Ports the sub-region. It provides The Gambia with adequate fuel reserve Authority is proud to provide first-class services at the port and has been recognized over the years for being one of the safest and most efficient and helps to stabilize prices. in West Africa. The total storage capacity of the terminal is 51,000 metric tons of Excelling as a leading maritime center for trade, light and heavy fuel oils as well as liquid propane gas. The depot logistics and distribution. encompasses 17 tanks, 19 loading bays, 3 sub-marine pipelines of 2,500 each, state-of-the-art technology in gauging and metering equipment, as well as a full LPG bottling plant, all of which have been built according to international standards with SGS certification. The terminal will also act as a primary supply hub for the neighboring countries in the sub-region. With Gam Petroleum, fuel supply problem… solved. For more information, please visit http://www.gambiaports.com, Tel: (220) 422 9940, 422 6665, Fax: (220) 422 7268, firstname.lastname@example.org The Gambia COMIUM Internet boom ahead, set to drive Middle Eastern and development skyward African telecom leader Gambians can’t get enough of modern communications and are behind a soaring demand for new services standards, and to improve accessibili- ty throughout the country. It followed on the heels of the outsourcing of the com- homes in on The Gambia IF THERE IS one thing that Neneh Mac- the other, because it increases the qual- pany’s management to Detecon Inter- douall-Gaye, Michael Tenn and Rein ity of their lives, even if they are small national, one of the world’s top consulting Comium’s recent entry into the mobile market in The Gambia is set Zwolsman have in common it is the be- farmers. If they want to sell their prod- firms for management and technology to change the face of communications. The company recently lief that telecommunications will play a uct, they need to know what the mar- and a subsidiary of T-Mobile, Deutsche introduced the first 2G GSM mobile phone network pivotal part in the development of The ket price is. There is always a demand Telekom’s cellular arm. Gambia, and that Gambians are hun- for information. The moment that peo- “The government made the decision Comium commenced tions will ensure the continued evolution of gry for connectivity. Neneh Macdouall- ple can access the information they to liberalize and divest 50% of the com- formal business oper- Comium. The group develops technologies to Gaye, Secretary of State for need from other places, their income pany, and to outsource the top man- ations in 1994 and has meet the needs and desires of its customers. Communications, Information and Tech- and the quality of their lives will in- agement to a reputable company. since earned a firm po- The customer-centered approach is apparent nology, a new state department set up crease,” he says. Detecon are experts in managing tele- sition in the upper ech- in its careful development and introduction of elons of the Middle technologies according to country and region. by President Jammeh to oversee the Consequently, the correlation between com companies. It is a big company with Eastern and African Strategies such as product branding are cul- sector’s growth, calls it “a catalyst for income, revenue and telecommunication MICHAEL TENN offices in Johannesburg, South Africa telecommunications sectors. Paramount to turally tailored to local markets. For example, development, underpinning the growth density is a straight line, according to CEO of GAMTEL and Sydney, Australia, which are run by the group’s success has been customer-fo- in The Gambia, one prepaid line of phones is of all sectors, social or economic, pub- Zwolsman, who adds, “Everywhere on highly recruited teams of leading con- cused organization, strategic expansion plan- called “Nakam,” which translates as “How are lic or private.” the continent, tele-density is rising. Peo- better telecom infrastructure you have sultants and software and telecom en- ning, and a wide range of telecom services. you?” in Wolof, one of the local dialects. “The power of ICT as an engine of ple need to access this information and and the better services you provide en- gineers. Detecon is active in many Offering mobile phone, Internet, e-commerce, Not surprisingly, their targeted strategies growth cannot be stopped and delay- they are prepared to pay for it.” courage investors to come in, as this is African countries either as consultants and data operations technologies, the group have paid off. Within its first six months of op- ing it only puts us at the back of the glob- Michael Tenn, GAMTEL’s CEO and a main necessity nowadays. It facili- or managers. Here at GAMTEL, we currently boasts one million customers in erations in The Gambia, Comium secured a al race. ICT is critical for competitiveness also head of Spectrum International, a tates their establishment and operation have the responsibility to run the com- Africa alone. quarter of the market share, tallying more than just as the combustion engine was dur- Beirut-based telecommunications giant within the country.” pany for the next two years,” explains In over a decade in operation, the group 100,000 subscribers. The group has plans for ing the industrial revolution, when the which bought 50% of GAMTELlast year, For this reason, Spectrum’s partici- Zwolsman. has learned the value of nurturing relation- further expansion in The Gambia, beginning countries that embraced it are recog- says that strong telecoms infrastructure pation in GAMTEL was one of the most The injection of new capital and new ships. The operative word for discussing with an aggressive effort to offer service in ru- Comium’s philosophy towards others is care. ral, underserved regions of the country. The nized today as the developed world,” also benefits development by creating newsworthy events of 2007 in the coun- know-how came at an opportune time The group cares for its customers by providing initiative coincides with the group’s commitment says the Secretary. a better environment for investors. try. Indicative of the government’s em- for GAMTEL. The company, which once friendly staff and high-quality products; looks to improving the lives of citizens by opening Rein Zwolsman, who heads up the He remarks, “Telecommunication is phasis on the importance of ICT enjoyed regional prominence, had be- after its employees by creating healthy work communication channels for previously out-of- finance department for the national op- surely a main driver for any economy development, the move was intended gun to suffer from its incumbent status. environments that offer avenues for ad- reach customers and to promoting the eco- erator GAMTEL, says there is a huge and it’s a key indicator of its growth. The to bring GAMTEL up to international As the sector liberalized, it lost ground vancement; helps support the environment nomic development of the country by offering demand for Internet connection in the to newer companies entering the mar- and local communities by funding social and better coverage, lower prices, and more serv- country, and although rates are rea- ket. This is a trend that CEO Michael green initiatives; looks out for its sharehold- ices, encouraging Gambian business on a sonable, it really wouldn’t matter. Gam- Tenn plans to put an end to. ers by offering a high degree of transparen- whole. bians are determined to have access, He states, “GAMTEL is a key com- cy in its operations; and lastly, watches over Comium recognizes corporate social re- and this can mean only one thing – pany in the country. Years back, it was its business partners by engaging in com- sponsibility as one of the most important ele- there is an Internet boom on the hori- known to be the number one in the re- mitted, honest relationships. ments in its success as an international ven- zon, and one that is going to propel gion. We do not want to brag much Comium views the African continent as a ture. A large portion of its profits is due to the economic development in a way that about a success until we have credi- largely untapped market. With less than 14% relationships the organization has forged with of the mobile market penetrated, and a mere local cultures. Respect for regional values, has not been witnessed before. bility behind it. When we tell the cus- 3.6% of the Internet market penetrated, culture, and heritage has solidified trust be- “There is a huge demand for CDMA, tomer that we are going to provide them Comium is committed to helping Africa de- tween the customer and the group. which allows people to get online. Com- good services, it means we are com- velop its telecom sector. The company present- To achieve its full potential in the future, the puters are getting cheaper by the day. mitted and ready to answer to their ly has business interests in Ivory Coast, Sierra group plans to expand network coverage, to There is high potential demand, and needs. When we say that we will gain Leone and Liberia, among other nations. In The introduce more added-value services, and to rates are not very high so it is afford- market share that means I can back it Gambia, Comium is furthering its expansion identify new challenges and opportunities. The able to a lot of people. Of course, the up with real facts and figures. We are by introducing new, advanced telecom tech- goal is to build on past successes and expand amount of money people spend is not housecleaning first, getting things in nologies that will reshape the way Gambians into new markets and countries. Comium hopes the same but people are able to find the shape, then we will get our message communicate. its products and services will transform and money to make those calls, one way or The national operator has brought in the big guns in an ambitious bid to recover former prestige across loud and clear.” Adaptation to market trends and fluctua- improve the lives of people across the globe. Coming home ‘inspiring’ KAIRABA AND OCEAN BAY Smiling coast increases its attractions POPULARLY KNOWN Resort boasts 195 rooms, each with a com- our clients have been here before and have Festivals form part of the attraction of The mer slave fortress of James Island.There, Haley recorded the as ‘the Smiling Coast of plete bathroom, individually controlled air come back.” It not uncommon to find many Gambia for the world’s travellers stories of a tribal historian who told him about Kinte’s capture. Africa’, The Gambia conditioning, direct dial telephone, elec- of them enjoying a cocktail by the pool or Roots, which went on to be translated in 37 languages, won boasts numerous un- tronic safe and 24-hour room service. Guests strolling in the gardens before going to eat ‘HE NEVER forgot his roots, and fought for his freedom, and Haley a special Pulitzer prize in 1977, and sparked increasing spoiled beaches. The enjoy a lovely pool stashed between the re- at the resort’s renowned restaurants. for those that followed after him. Although he was a slave, he public interest in genealogy. miles of empty white sand beaches attract sort’s Gambian-inspired villas. After sumptuous meals, long walks on was born a free man, and in spirit died a free person. His leg- This interest is celebrated in The Gambia with its Roots tourists from around the globe seeking rest For a true dining experience, the Ocean the beach and many hours by the pool, end was brought to life by his great, great, great grandson Alex Home Coming Festival. Taking place in early June every sec- and relaxation. And fortunately for them, Bay’s famous restaurant, The Ocean Clip- many guests want an added bit of pam- Haley.’ Such reads the introduction on the website of the Gam- ond year (2008 is a festival year), the festival is a highly emo- the beautiful scenery is complemented by per, offers a fusion of Thai and Mediter- pering. The Vitala Beauty Studio is the bia Tourism Authority. Birthplace of Kunta Kinte, one of 98 tional and inspiring event that focuses on the spiritual, cultural, exquisite local accommodation. The Ocean ranean food, an exclusive selection of wines beauty and health center and combines slaves shipped to Maryland aboard the Lord Ligonier in 1767, and historical orientation of the celebration of freedom. Taking Bay Resort, located on the beach in Cape stored in its signature cellar Cave Bacchus, the ultimate in relaxing treatments and and made famous in Alex Haley’s 1976 novel Roots: The Saga place over the course of a week, it features excursions to a sa- Point, Bakau, and the Kairaba Hotel, found and a range of handmade branded Cuban beauty services. of an American Family, The Gambia today represents a com- cred pool, fairs with African artefacts and cloths, a musical bo- on Kololi beach, are the outstanding hotels cigars and premium cognacs, all of which Exceptional amenities are complement- ing home for many tourists worldwide. nanza of artists from across the continent, theatre and an in the region and have hosted many fa- have helped it earn a distinct reputation ed with an exceptional staff. The employ- During his ten years of research for the novel, Haley visited initiation into the rites of passage and other longstanding African mous national and foreign personages. amongst diplomats and foreign officials. ees of both the Ocean Bay and Kairaba offer the village of Juffure where Kunta Kinte grew up, near the for- religious traditions. “The hotel was officially opened by His The luxurious five-star Kairaba contains world-class service and professionalism Excellency Dr. Alh. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, equally impressive facilities. Located in thanks to good training and employee in- President of the Republic of The Gambia, the middle of 40 acres of lush tropical gar- centive programs. The range of amenities SHERATON in July 2004,” says Ocean Bay’s General dens and miles of sandy beaches, the and quality of the staff were recognized in New spa resort is a ‘feast for the eyes’ Manager Lucien Gibiser. “We are located along the beach on the mouth of the River Gambia, with a breathtaking view of the At- Kairaba has more than 150 rooms, and boasts a spectacular swimming pool and gardens with over 60 different species of 2005 and 2006 when the hotels were award- ed the Thomas Cook Mark of Excellence Award. Furthermore, both are members of ‘A FEAST FOR THE a whole new experience,” Mrs. Buhr Atlantic Ocean—these little details lantic Ocean, undeniably the best beach in birds. Not surprisingly, guests have trou- the Great Hotels of the World. EYES’ is how Jennifer says. “There have been African Vil- mark the difference.” The Gambia.” ble leaving the hotel. Buhr, the General Manger, lage themed hotels before, but the Indeed, the new resort is raising the Travelers love both the Ocean Bay Re- “People come to the Kairaba Hotel to re- likes to describe the new whole structure of our hotel—the sim- bar for luxury accommodation and sort and Kairaba Hotel for their proximity to lax and unwind,” says Gerard Lombardo, Sheraton Spa and Resort plicity of it, the colors of the rooms, the tourism in The Gambia, catering to high- breathtaking beaches and spectacular General Manager of the hotel. “That is why in Serrekunda. The recently finished lighting, the amenities, the African art, end customers, many of whom are for- amenities. The award-winning Ocean Bay our guests keep returning. Sixty percent of five-star complex has travelers and the wardrobe of the staff, the shampoo, eign officials and business executives Gambians alike bubbling with enthu- the soaps and the other toiletries in the aiding in the development of the coun- siasm and pride. guests’ rooms, the infinity pool that is try. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the “Visitors who come here can expect on the same level as the waves of the new 195-room, five-star resort is the first of its kind in The Gambia with lux- ury villas and facilities that blend the Gambian aesthetic with international conveniences. “The moment you come here, you are completely mesmerized,” observes Ms. Buhr. Boasting spectacular views, taste- ful design and serene landscaping, the complex offers guests the ultimate in re- laxation and comfort. In addition, the ho- tel is just 20 minutes from The Gambia’s capital Banjul, and ten minutes from The Gambia’s international airport. The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority is entrusted with the management of Banjul The Sheraton recently hosted the 42nd African Union Summit in its 780- International Airport and the regulation and management of the civil aviation person conference center. The hotel industry in order to facilitate safe, regular and efficient air transportation. brings first-world comforts, like state-of- The Banjul International Airport is putting itself on the map as an ever- the-art conference rooms and WIFI, to the emerging country. The combination increasingly important regional stop, receiving more air traffic each year. The of business-friendly facilities and world- GCAA welcomes investors, entrepreneurs and more airlines to help us expand class comfort has already enticed many and fulfil the needs of a growing industry. foreign companies to host important events in the seaside complex. Apart from its superior business fa- cilities, The Gambia offers and organ- izes a splendid range of activities. Guests can charter a sailboat and see dolphins, ride horses along the hotel’s beautiful beach, join a camel safari, or www.gambia.gm/gcaa The recently finished Sheraton Spa and Resort offers top-of-the-line luxury along with soft ocean breezes explore a local nature reserve.
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