(JollofNews) – The chief executive officer of the International Islamic Trade Finance
Corporation (ITFC) Hani Salem Sonbol,has expressed his organization’s preparedness to continue their strategic partnership with Gambia as the tiny West African nation is making giant efforts to recover from two decades of economic lethargy.

“We will continue our strategic partnership with Gambia. We are now having a number of operations undergoing. We are very much satisfied with the level of professionalism of Gambians,” he told journalists
shortly after Tuesday’s signing of a US$210 million framework agreement with the Gambia Government at the Office of the Vice-President.

The Gambia is gradually restoring confidence with development partners, triggering a deeper commitment from financial institutions such as ITFC, World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB), International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

In his New Year’s address to the nation, President Adama Barrow announced that his
government has already undertaken some steps that would enable the “country to graduate from isolation and collapse economy to a vibrant destination for investors and a centre of attractions for people in the sub-region and beyond.”

ITFC’s Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol said Gambia is finalizing the three-year program of action (2018-2021), which comes at a ‘right time’ as the government has introduced its National Development Plan (NDP). He  added that his organization will put its focus on agriculture and energy.

As a member of Islamic Development Bank (IDB), ITFC has over the past years endorsed a total of 30 projects for the Gambia, amounting to US$437 million.

“We are also extending our assistance to different sectors including trade, building capacities etc,” he said.

Sonbol said he had the opportunity to discuss with Gambia’s Minister of Finance, Amadou Sanneh, on the way forward after the three-year framework agreement will phase out. He did not rule out the
possibility of amending the agreement according to the ‘needs of
Gambians.”

When asked about the solutions ITFC is envisaging for the country’s energy sector, Hani Salem Sonbol reiterated their commitment to ‘enhance’ a sector that continues to struggle to provide Gambians with stable electricity.

“We will continue to partner with Gambia in years to come,” he assured.

Written by Abdoulie JOHN