Gambian President lays foundation stone for Chinese-funded conference center
The Gambian President Adama Barrow has laid the foundation stone on Thursday to mark the official commencement of the construction of the Chinese funded International Conference Center at a tune of 50 million US dollars.
Barrow said the bond of friendship and cooperation between The Gambia and China is growing stronger within the framework of South-South Cooperation, and that the strategic partnership between the two countries is based on mutual respect and common interest.
"The construction of the Center comes at the right time, to showcase the new Gambia, as a viable and peaceful destination, and as a place of democracy, good governance, rule of law, and freedom of speech," he said.
The Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia Zhang Jiming said The Gambia International Conference Center is the very first major bilateral cooperation project between China and The Gambia since the resumption of the diplomatic ties. He said it is so far the biggest grant project in terms of finance scale in the history of the bilateral relations.
"The project demonstrates China's resolve to closely combine its own development with assisting the development of The Gambia and Africa as a whole so as to realize win-win cooperation for common development," he said.
Bai Lamin Jobe, The Gambia's Infrastructure Minister said the building will have a conference hall which will have a capacity of 1,021 persons. According to him, it will have four thematic rooms each with a 200-person capacity, and it will also have fourteen bilateral meeting rooms, four press rooms, banquet halls and offices.
He said the contractor is China Jiangsu Provincial Construction Company Ltd and it will last for two years.
The two countries established formal diplomatic links in 1974, but China suspended relations in 1995 when Gambia resumed so-called "diplomatic" ties with Taiwan. Gambia severed ties with Taiwan in 2013. China and Gambia resumed diplomatic ties in March 2016.