Abdoulie Ceesay, Member for Old Yundum as the Deputy Majority Leader of The Gambia.
Q: The world today is constantly changing from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine as well as the potential for a global recession in this world what role do you think the Commonwealth of Nations has within it?
A: It is clear that the world faces a number of challenges. It is better I believe if our approach is coordinated and united when facing global threats. We must take a common stance where possible on these issues. The Commonwealth must empower its member states so that they can take the strategic measures they need at this time to avoid a global recession. This is the level at which this problem must be addressed.
Q: The Gambia is set to host the Organization of the Islamic Summit meeting perhaps as soon as next year.
A: This will be a chance to show Gambia, the smiling cost of Africa, to the world. As I believe this event will receive attention from beyond the OIC member states. More importantly I think the development projects we are taking in this country ahead of this geopolitical summit will collectively advance the standard of living, create new employment opportunities, as well as enhance our regional economic competitiveness. We have already created a regionally important conference center which will host this event.
More infrastructure projects are underway from transportation to a new five-star hotel to be used by the diplomatic delegations during the summit and tourists after. My home district is home to some of Gambia’s best hotels but, we need more across the country. These are the changes from the summit which will meaningfully impact the lives of Gambians.
Q: Currently a number of European countries are looking to invest in natural gas and oil resources from Africa in light of the war in Ukraine. For the United Kingdom the emphasis appears to be for now on clear energy. However, such projects regardless of their focus will take years to develop. How do you see this shift from the Gambian perspective ?
A: This would have been the best opportunity the Gambia has had, if we had previously explored the petroleum that is said to be available here. Under the former regime there was a half-hearted effort to explore some of these resources with an oil company from the Philippines. These projects were not developed and the people suffered.
The rise in prices is impacting the ordinary consumer here in Gambia. Already the price of gas is scaling up to an extent that many won't be able to sustain using vehicles to run errands. These prices impact those taking collective transportation services as well.
But again, I think this is a positive development and good step if Europe is now hoping to depend more on Africa for the purchase of natural gas from West Africa and across the continent.