New Delhi: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, landed in Gambia, yesterday (July 30, 2019). This is the first-ever visit of the Head of State/Head of Government from India to The Gambia. On arrival at the Banjul Airport, the President was received by the President of The Gambia, Mr Adama Barrow and accorded ceremonial welcome.
Today (July 31, 2019), the President commenced his engagements with visit to the State House where he was received by President Barrow. During the subsequent one-to-one discussions with his counterpart, the President congratulated President Barrow for his win in the Presidential elections held in December 2016 that led to the restoration of democracy in The Gambia. He said that it was a watershed moment for The Gambia and for the democratic world. He also thanked him for writing a piece – ‘What Mahatma Gandhi means to me’ to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Subsequently, the President led delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, he said that India is privileged to be a trusted partner for The Gambia in its growth and prosperity. We are honoured to have built the National Assembly Building of The Gambia under our concessional financing arrangement.
India offered The Gambia a grant of US dollars 500,000 in support of skill development and cottage industry project. In addition, the two sides also signed and exchanged a MOU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.
President Kovind received the instrument of ratification of the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement from the Gambian President. This will open up new opportunities of collaboration between the two countries on solar energy and help in combating climate change. In addition, India is also working for setting up solar projects in select villages in The Gambia.
The President said that capacity building is one of the strengths of India. We are happy to partner The Gambia in training and capacity building. India also agreed to offer training in the fields of judiciary, police, administration and technical expertise, as per Gambia’s request and in line with the priorities of The Gambia. In recent months, India has organised special training programmes for The Gambian Permanent Secretaries and senior civil servants as well as diplomats.
President Barrow acknowledged the positive role played by the Indian community for the progress and prosperity of The Gambia. He conveyed his deep appreciation of the contribution made by the Indian community for the development of The Gambia.
The President noted that India is among the top trading partners of The Gambia. Our bilateral trade in 2018-19 crossed US$ 200 million, representing an increase of nearly 100% in last two years. He said that India seeks The Gambia’s continued support for Indian enterprises and investment, and for the community. Both sides must work together to see how we can improve bilateral trade further in the coming years.
The President also issued a Press Statement on his visit to The Gambia (attached).
The President also attended a luncheon banquet hosted in his honour by the President of The Gambia, Mr Adama Barrow.
Later in the evening, the President will address the National Assembly of Gambia. He will also attend the Indian Community Reception being hosted by the Ambassador of India to Senegal and Gambia.