By Lamin Cham
Businessman and CEO of the Unique Group, Papa Yusupha Njie has been appointed honorary consul of Cote D’Ivoire in The Gambia. He replaces the late Alhagie OB Conateh who died in 2020. Mr Njie is also an award-winning technology and IT entrepreneur.
The inaugural ceremony for his investiture took place recently at the Ngala Lodge attended by local and international dignitaries including General Toure Sekou, Ambassador of Cote D’Ivoire to Senegal with responsibility for The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde and Mauritania, the Minister of Tourism and Culture Hamat NK Bah, Majority Leader and National Assembly Member for Kantora Billay G Tunkara and other high level government officials. The Resident Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission in The Gambia, Madam Vabah K. Gayflor, honorary consuls to various countries in The Gambia, members of the diplomatic corps, international organizations, business community, family and friends.
Addressing the ceremony, Mr Njie described the reopening of the Consulate as not only a way of representing the interests of the Ivorian community in The Gambia but also as a means of strengthening diplomatic relations between the two sister republics. He described Cote D’Ivoire as the second largest economy in West Africa and ninth in Africa, arguing therefore that The Gambia has a lot to benefit from this bilateral cooperation. He added that his focus for the next twelve months and during his tenure is to ‘use the consulate to promote economic diplomacy to pave the way for investors in both countries to increase inter African trade with each other and other ECOWAS Member states, responding to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area(AFCFTA) and also taking advantage of the ECOWAS ETLS scheme in a market of over 300 million people, creating jobs, transfer of skills, and the ripple effects it has in our communities.’
Sulayman Omar Njie, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation & Gambians Abroad also gave words of encouragement and motivation to the new Honorary Consul. The Permanent Secretary urged H.E Mr. Njie ‘to enhance people to people cooperation’ especially with the presence of a large number of Ivoirians in The Gambia.
Accordingly, a minute of silence was held in honor of the late Alhagi O.B Conateh Honorary Consul of Republic of Cote D’Ivoire in The Gambia. He was honored for his outstanding work and services to the people of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire.
Njie took the opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to President. Adama Barrow, for his support and acceptance of his nomination from the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire, as well as President Alassane Ouattara, of Cote D’Ivoire through H.E. General Toure Sekou, Ambassador of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire for his nomination and appointment as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire in The Gambia.