BANJUL, 30 June 2021: The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara on Wednesday 30 June 2021 addressed India Global Leaders Forum 2021.
Foreign Minister Tangara was invited by the Global Leadership to give an African perspective on issues bordering on COVID-19 and the recovery process, the friendly bilateral relations between The Gambia and the Republic of India and how the global tourism industry can be revived in the face of an ongoing global pandemic.
Commenting on measures taken by The Gambia in containing the pandemic and protecting its economy, Dr. Tangara said the government cut all travels and used those funds to buy ambulances and other medical equipment for health workers.
He said negotiations were held with bilateral partners for the country to access vaccines with 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine donated by the President of the Republic of Senegal to his brother President Adama Barrow and later, AstraZeneca vaccine was also received.
The Honourable Minister indicated that the challenge the government had was to convince people to take the vaccine. The government, he added, resorted to a massive sensitisation campaign which made great impact because it significantly reduced the vaccine hesitancy.
Minister Tangara told the Global Leaders Forum that The Gambia does not have adequate vaccines to give second doses to the teeming number of people that have had the first shot.
The Honourable Minister also emphasised the importance of global solidarity in this phase of the pandemic by helping countries with little or no vaccine to access it.
“The world is a global village. What affects one, affects all. The virus goes beyond borders,” Foreign Minister Tangara posited.
Minister Tangara added that The Gambia has made the vaccine available to everyone on Gambian soil. “The vaccine is not about Gambians or non-Gambians. We would like to offer it to all. We know that there are advantages to taking the vaccine than not taking it,” he told the forum.
On the impact of COVID-19 on the Gambian economy, the Honourable Minister said the pandemic had devastating effects as over 150,000 people lost their jobs in the tourism industry. The pandemic, he however added, created an opportunity for countries to buckle-up – diversify economies and not to depend on one sector. He said during the pandemic, The Gambia Government helped families with basic commodities and renewed efforts to make sure the country is self-reliant.
On the bilateral ties with India, Honourable Tangara extolled the excellent bilateral relations The Gambia has with India in the past decades and how India is one of Gambia’s strongest partners.
He recalled that India played a crucial role in building the human resource base of The Gambia by offering scholarships for Gambians to study in India.
The Foreign Minister used the opportunity to also salute the efforts of India in fighting and containing the pandemic. He said it is obvious that India is going through difficult times and therefore extended fraternal best wishes to the Prime Minister, Government and people of India.
Issued by the Communication Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad