The Gambia Government yesterday issued a statement explaining why it “has decided to defer the hosting of the 2019 OIC Summit in The Gambia to the year 2022.”
The statement reads: “The decision followed a series of high-level consultations held with other African countries on the limited time available to have the needed infrastructure for the successful hosting of the 2019 OIC summit.
The government, in preparation for the summit, established the National OIC Secretariat in February 2018 to oversee the successful organisation and hosting of the summit. The secretariat has also been given the mandate to mobilise resources required to enable The Gambia to host the summit successfully. Already, it has secured funding for the following projects, the implementation of which will start soon:
1. Construction of a dual carriageway from Yundum via Bertil Harding Highway to the Sting Corner
2. Construction of a 400-room, 5 star hotel and 60 luxury suites
3. Construction of VVIP lounge at the Banjul International Airport
4. Enhanced water production, transmission and distribution
5. Enhanced power transmission and distribution network
Given these huge tasks against the limited time factor, it became apparent that the country’s ability to host the summit this year seems distant. The government thus, opted to seek the deferment of its hosting of the summit to the year 2022, when the next OIC Summit is scheduled to take place.
Deferment of the hosting of OIC summits had happened in the past to allow host countries to adequately prepare for it. Countries that have deferred the hosting of the OIC summit in the past include Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
It was at its 13th summit held in Turkey in April 2016 that the organisation decided The Gambia will host the 2019 summit, which was initially scheduled for November this year.
The Government of The Gambia wishes to reassure the general public, members of the entire ummah and all its development partners of its commitment to host the summit in 2022.”
The OIC triennial summit brings together rulers and the heads of state and government of its member states in a single forum, often the largest gathering of leaders from the Islamic ummah. It is at the Summit that key policy decisions are taken and guidance provided on all issues pertaining to the realisation of the organisation’s charter. The summit also considers other issues of specific concern to any member state or a group of member states with the view to addressing them.