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IMF, Paris Club applaud, debt relief granted by cex51483


									                                  The Gambia
                                                  THE GAMBIA RIVER HAS MARKED THE LIVES OF THE 1.7 MILLION RESIDENTS OF THIS                                                              ECONOMY BUILDS MOMENTUM

                                  ON JAMES ISLAND. TODAY, WITH NEW BRIDGES AND DAMS PLANNED, THE RIVER HAS ANOTHER                                                                        IMF, Paris Club applaud,
                                                                                                                                                                                          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
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                                  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
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  Fax: +44 20 7629 5337            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              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:


‘A catalyst for
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.”                                                              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 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

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.


                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                        , Tel: (220) 422 9940, 422 6665, Fax: (220) 422 7268,
                      The Gambia

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
                                                                                                                       “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
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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