TAT Editorial on OIC Banjul Summit: The 15th OIC Summit held in Banjul has come and gone; it is now history!

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Editorial by: Alieu Famara Sagnia

The event was held over the weekend under the theme: “Enhancing Unity and Solidarity through Dialogue for Sustainable Development”.

A Final Communique, a Resolution on the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, and the Banjul Declaration are the summit outcomes.

All that remains is for The Gambia to rise to the task of effectively steering the affairs of the global organization for the next three years.

We congratulate President Adama Barrow as the new OIC chairman.

There was a lot of hype and spin in the lead up to the summit and, as should dawn on us, this must now cease as Gambians face the reality of the enormity of taking on this huge responsibility.

Apart from the prestige we courted, our small least developed nation is now challenged with finding the resources to settle the enormous debt – received in many forms – to enable us host the summit.

Foremost, of course, is repaying the many financial loans taken to build infrastructure for the summit.

Now, recognizing the goodwill of China, which grant-aid funded the SDKJICC, the modern summit venue, was in order.

The Asian superpower – and soon-to-be world’s leading economy – was most appropriately honored as the summit’s “special guest”, and China’s envoy delivered a most welcomed statement of solidarity and support.

This country is also indebted to Morocco, which not only grant-funded the new MoFA building at the entrance to Banjul near the Memorial Arch, but reportedly shipped many containers full of food to feed the many VVIPs attending the summit.

Senegal in the spirit of Senegambia was also kind enough to make its military airport at Yoff available for extra aircraft parking, should it be needed. It also let RTS give “technical backstopping” to GRTS to broadcast the summit meeting to a worldwide audience.

Indeed, according to Gambia government and OIC sources, aid received toward hosting the event came in various forms as well, from many other “friends and development partners”.

On our part, we will now have to reciprocate the goodwill gestures, which must also take many forms, including diplomatic support, no doubt.

Thus as we embark on this journey on behalf of Africa and the Islamic Ummah, we pray that Allah Almighty lightens our burden, enables us to repay our benefactors, and to attain set objectives easily and satisfactorily. Amen

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