Plans to Set Up Science & Technology Park in Gambia
The government of The Gambia, in partnership with UNESCO and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) are exploring ways and possibilities of setting up a science and technology park in the country.
This development was unveiled Tuesday afternoon at State House in Banjul during a meeting by the Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh with a six-man experts delegation from UNESCO-ISESCO, who are in the country to assess the potential for The Gambia to set up the aforementioned project. The project described as the initiative of the Gambian leader, if successful, would be the country's first science and technology park to be established as part of the relentless drive towards the realisation of the country's development vision.
The president reaffirmed that his government wants to develop this country very rapidly, and stressed that for that to really come true, it takes more than just agriculture, tourism and other sectors, thus, the need to embrace science and technology. He pointed out those countries such as Japan, Malaysia amongst a host others, achieved development thanks to science and technology. Given the importance of this initiative, the president again stated that this is a golden opportunity for The Gambia, which it must not miss, while challenging the concerned stakeholders to take the issue with extra-seriousness and total commitment to see it through. He said that the future of this country depends on the initiative.
"This is one thing that we have to take very seriously because the future of our country depends on this. This is a golden opportunity, something that money cannot buy. It is the only way that we would be able to achieve Vision 2020. Without science and technology, forget it," he emphasised, while further challenging the government officials assigned to the initiative to show unquestionable degree of dedication and commitment.
President Jammeh also used the opportunity to stress that if Africa does not take science and technology seriously, the continent will continue to lag behind. "We are the richest continent in terms of natural resources and to exploit these resources, you need technology. So if you don't have the technology, no matter what you have underground, it will not benefit you," he emphasised. He then concluded by reiterating gratitude to UNESCO and ISESCO for coming to help The Gambia out in its development needs.
For her part, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs was equally thankful to UNESCO and ISESCO for the move, and underscored the significance President Jammeh attaches to science and technology. She said that with the existence of the science and technology park in the country complimented by the education system in place, the country is creating a knowledge-based society. Like President Jammeh, VP Njie-Saidy also reiterated the importance of science and technology, noting that without it in this day and age, one cannot be anywhere. She described that science and technology as very key to development, while observing that many countries are developed due to science and technology.