Gambia to have new ferry worth US$13M

Gambia to have new ferry worth US$13M

The Gambia through support from of the African Development Bank (ADB) has approved the financing of the procurement of a new green ferry to the tune of about US$13.0 million.

The move is in line with the Banjul Ports 4th Expansion Project, according to officials. The ferry, about the size of the current Kunta Kinteh ferry,  would significantly help in improving the ferry crossing times between Banjul and Barra.

In delivering the 2024 budget at the National Assembly in Banjul, Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Seedy Keita, said: “The green ferry would contribute to the SDGs on carbon emissions reduction and also contribute towards the Green Recovery-Focused National Development Plan. The country’s huge infrastructure deficit is being addressed. Currently, 350km road construction contracts have been awarded. Hence, the increased budgetary allocation to this sector.”

Minister Keita added that the rehabilitation of roads, sewage and drainage systems in Banjul is in its final stage of implementation.

“The project seeks to rehabilitate the pump house at Bond Road and install new pumps to evacuate storm water during the rainy season. Currently, 98 per cent of the road’s component in the initial scope and 87 per cent of those in the additional works have been completed as at end of September 2023.”

“As part of the OIC Infrastructure Development Projects for the hosting of the upcoming OIC Heads of States Summit in The Gambia, the construction of 50km urban roads which requires upgrading of 17 roads in the urban network is currently ongoing. This project intends to decongest urban traffic with safe, attractive, and vibrant links leading to efficient traffic management during the summit and beyond.” he stated.

He further highlighted that the government had also committed funds for the construction of 86km Niumi-Hakalang and other secondary roads to support the country’s transport sector.

“The purpose of the project is to upgrade the existing gravel road and tracks in Niumi-Hakalang to a modern standard road with a bituminous sealed carriageway and shoulders, appropriate drainage structures, modern road furniture and safety facilities.”

The government, he added, has also embarked on an exercise to reform the aviation sector in the country to make it more efficient and viable.

“This involves the separation of regulatory and service provision functions in the industry in line with international standards and recommended practices,” he said. “The decoupling process is ongoing and will culminate in the establishment of a new Airport Company and a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which will focus only on regulatory oversight.”

In addition, he said the government plans to enter into a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in the operations and management of the Banjul International Airport. Such reforms, he added, would enhance the performance of the aviation industry and its contributions to the development of the country.

“As part of preparations for the hosting of the OIC Heads of State Summit scheduled to take place in The Gambia in May 2024, the construction of a new VVIP Lounge and the rehabilitation of the Terminal Building at the airport were completed. These improvements will enhance operational capacity at the Banjul International Airport, in line with Government’s strategic objective to improve air transport facilities and infrastructure.”

Source: The Point

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