By Adama Tine
Lamin Bah, president of Continental Africa LLC has told journalists at a press conference held at Paradise Suites Hotel on Tuesday that his project (Moringa Biodiesel Project worth over 325 million US dollars) is still waiting for approval from the Ministry of Finance.
Speaking to journalists, Bah said they want the Finance Minister to tell Gambians the reason for the delay in approving the project. He explained that the project has the capacity to employ nearly 100,000 youth in the country. “The project will create employment for 90,000 plus youth in the country and we will build 20,000 houses for our employees to make sure they stay in the center without traveling from Kombo to Kiang,” Bah said.
Bah said back in January, he introduced the project to President Adama Barrow. He said President Barrow accepted the idea and also expressed his support for the project.
He added that the project will be based in Kiang Karantaba in the Lower River Region (LRR).
“I find it very unfair to be invited here and after bringing back my family from the US yet we are waiting for the project to get approval,” he remarked. He said investors are ready to invest U$325 million, adding that in 90 days if everything goes well, they would have the funding and then start employing Gambians.
Bah said: “right now we are in the position of giving security for the project. The land is not the problem. We need security for the investment. Every investor that comes to a country needs security. We need government to give us security. Security investors are asking for 40% of the total investment.”
“The investors will be shareholders and the country is not paying back anything. It is structured as a loan simply for security reasons,” Bah told journalists.
“For my assurance I have told the president that if they have issues with my partners or in trusting whether we can deliver, I am ready to be taken to jail,” he also said.
Mamour Mbenga, moderator of the press conference said the country is at a state of trauma. “The youth are frustrated and this is a great opportunity that the country should not allow to go in vein,” he added.
He said the project will impact the country significantly if it is successful. “We should not let it go because the implementation of this project will also reduce the rate of irregular migration.”
Continental Africa LLC is a US registered company based in Delaware and a holding company for separate sub-corporations created in each of the countries where operations are envisioned in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Continental is a vertically integrated Afro-industrial group of companies, focused on the sustainable development of “green” resources to address the problems of food security, global poverty, energy scarcity and global warming. Its solutions are environmentally beneficial, socially responsible and economically sustainable.
The project aims to cultivate 30,000 hectares of land, create 90,000 permanent jobs and U$325 million investment. It will also construct a biodiesel plant that will generate clean fuel without pollution or destroying the mutual environment and landscape of The Gambia.
The project will also dig boreholes and irrigate land, cultivate perennial crops-moringa and intercrop with peanuts, onions, tomatoes, etc. It will also establish acquaponics-integrated fish and produce farming for healthy organic quality produce.
It will also establish beekeeping to increase crop wields, build schools, shopping center, hospitals for workers, build food processing factory etc.