Honourable Cabinet members
Distinguished visiting guests
Representatives of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good afternoon / good evening
On behalf of the Government and People of The Gambia, I am pleased to welcome Your Excellency, Mr. Erdogan and Madam Erdogan to The Gambia, the smiling coast of West Africa.
I will seize this opportunity to thank Your Excellency for the goodwill, friendship and strong ties of cooperation between Turkey and The Gambia. This visit is to strengthen these relations further for the mutual benefit of our peoples.
Over the years, cooperation has been established, and support from Turkey received in vital sectors of our economy. The various agreements signed between the two countries, especially during my last visit to Ankara, amply demonstrate the high-level cooperation between our two countries.
Your government has demonstrated strong support to our transitional programme, with military support to the tune of $17 million for a period of five years which is ongoing.
My government also gains your support to build the capacity of our security forces by training 500 officers on peacekeeping. Your Excellency, we continue to appreciate the pledges made during my visit to build a children’s hospital and offices for the Parliamentarians.
Turkey’s instrumental role in supporting The Gambia to host the OIC Summit, and sharing the Turkish experience in hosting such a world event is highly appreciated. We look forward to the continued partnership with Turkey as we prepare for the Summit.
Furthermore, the recent establishment of the office of the Turkish Agency for International Development (TIKA) in The Gambia ensures an effective way of harnessing and strengthening our cooperation.
As evident with the formation of the Joint Economic Commission between our two countries, trade and investment matters hold a flagship position within our cooperation and this is vital for the private sectors of both countries.
Through these partnerships, we have witnessed the commencement of the Banjul-Istanbul route with Turkish Airlines, thus opening up new frontiers in business between our two countries.
My Government is ready to enhance and explore economic engagements with Turkey, through foreign direct investment.
Also, strong people-to-people ties continue to underpin the many facets of the excellent bilateral relations between The Gambia and Turkey.
I will conclude by reiterating that your visit will further strengthen our bilateral cooperation and mutual interest to promote socio-economic development of our people.
I thank you for your kind attention.