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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

A historic moment for The Gambia: Embracing our role on the global stage

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By Ade Daramy Member, OIC Media sub-committee

As The Gambia stands on the cusp of hosting the 15th Islamic Summit of Rulers and Heads of State for the first time in the country’s history, we are not just preparing to welcome dignitaries from across the Islamic world. We are also gearing up for an unparalleled opportunity to showcase our nation’s beauty, culture, and progress on a global platform and to a global audience. This event, scheduled for 4-5 May 2024, which will follow closely on the heels of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit of ministers, is more than a diplomatic gathering. It is a clarion call to every Gambian to rally together, to demonstrate our unity, hospitality, and commitment to progress.

The significance of this event cannot be overstated. Hosting the OIC summit, the largest gathering of rulers and Heads of State outside of the UN General Assembly, positions The Gambia as a central player on the international stage.

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The summit in The Gambia will be only the second time it has been held in Sub-Saharan Africa – the previous such time was in Senegal, which hosted the summit in 1991 and 2008. The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa.

As Gambians, we have a tendency to underplay our achievements.

This summit is a testament to our nation’s growing stature and the respect we command in the global community. This is our moment to shine, to show the world the strides we have made in governance, infrastructure, and cultural preservation.

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The OIC Secretariat in The Gambia has rightly called on the nation’s media and Social Media Influencers to play a pivotal role in ensuring the summit’s success. But this is a call that extends beyond journalists, media professionals and influencers. It is a call to every Gambian, from Banjul to Basse, from Kartong to Koina, and from the bustling markets to the quiet countryside. We must all be ambassadors of our country, showcasing the warmth, resilience, and spirit of our people.

The benefits of hosting such a prestigious event are many. Beyond the immediate global focus, the summit promises substantial infrastructural developments, including new roads and an international conference centre. These projects not only facilitate a successful summit but will also leave a lasting legacy for The Gambia, improving our citizens’ quality of life and boosting our tourism and business sectors.

However, the true measure of success will not be in the infrastructure we build or the number of delegates we host. It will be in the stories we tell and the impressions we leave. It will be in the way we leverage this moment to forge stronger international partnerships, attract more investment and investors, and highlight our country’s potential as a vibrant, peaceful, and progressive society.

As we prepare for this historic event, let us remember that our collective effort is crucial. Let us engage with enthusiasm, participate actively in discussions and events leading up to the summit, and volunteer our time and skills to ensure its success. Let us be gracious hosts, eager to share and highlight the best of what The Gambia has to offer.

So, this is a call to action for every Gambian. Let’s unite with a common purpose: to make the OIC summit a resounding success that echoes beyond our borders, heralding a new chapter in our nation’s history. Together, we can demonstrate to the world that The Gambia is not just a host but a shining example of African excellence and Islamic cooperation and solidarity.

To the people of The Gambia and Gambians abroad, I say: this is your time. Let’s embrace this historic moment with open hearts and unwavering commitment. Let’s come together to make and be part of history, for our nation, for our children, and for generations to come.

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