Officials of The Gambia River Basin Development Organisation (OMVG) on Wednesday paid homage to The Gambia’s first president and one of the founding members of the organisation, His Excellency Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, at his residence, in Fajara. The OMVG officials also awarded President Jawara as the only cofounding member of the organisation.
The award was presented to them in Paris, France as the best energy project in Africa.
Headed by its high commissioner and the minister of Environment and Climate Change and Natural Resources to Sir Dawda’s residence, officials said that meeting Sir Dawda was meant among other things to pay him special homage.
The OMVG is a sub-regional basin organisation, created on June 30th 1978, and regroups The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.
The OMVG Energy project is aimed at reinforcing cooperation and regional integration by exploiting and using wisely, the potential of the hydroelectric – three river basins.
Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, 93, a co-founder was also presented a photo, to evoke his memory of where he and the former Senegalese President Senghor signed the OMVG project, in Kaolack, Senegal in 1978.
Speaking at the forum, Minister Lamin B. Dibba, recalled the vision of the project at the time, saying it was to manage the common resources to the benefit of our various countries. “Today we are here to pay a courtesy call on one of the co-founders who is living to brief him on the vision he had at the time with his colleague, President Senghor, which has paid dividend,” he said.
The project, he went on, has undergone some tremendous reforms, pointing out that the construction of the interconnection line has also started and all the contractors are in place and starting their works.
Gambia, he said, will have two sub-stations from the interconnection line where we can connect to our national grip to supply energy from the Sambangalou Dam and the Kaleta and the Swapity Dam, all of which will be able to supply electricity to The Gambia.
“When these things are up and running, the issue of electricity will be history,” he said. “We deem it fitting to brief one of the living co-founders of this great organisation that is working towards in making the citizenry very proud of their region,” Minister Dibba stated.
For his part, the high commissioner of OMVG, Lansana Fofana, commended President Jawara and Senghor for their tireless efforts in coming out with such a significant project that will go a long way in benefiting the sub-region.
“We are here to pay honour to the former president for the vision he had at the time together with his colleague Leopold Sedar Senghor for the creation of the OMVG of which today the entire sub-region of Africa is benefiting from,” he said.
High Commissioner Fofana noted that it is through the visionary leadership of the two former presidents that they requested the other heads of state Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau to join the organisation. “Today, we are here to inform you that the baby that you brought into the world is a big boy that is benefiting the entire sub-region,” he remark.
In response, The Gambia’s first president commended the delegation for visiting him. He, however, called for concerted efforts toward the attainment of this significant project that he and Senghor had initiated 40 years back. He said now; “we are trying to drive practical benefits from this organisation which now form history to actual facts.”
“It is time now for us The Gambia, Senegal and the entire sub-region to benefit from this organisation in terms of development and other areas,” he said. I welcome you all here because we started this issue some years ago.”