Friday, March 20, 2009

Levy left an indelible mark in Africa - Gambian consul

Levy left an indelible mark in Africa - Gambian consul
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Friday, March 20, 2009 3:34:58 PM

LEVY Mwanawasa left an indelible mark in Africa, The Gambia's new honorary consul to Zambia Dr Huja Gass Jaiteh Njie has said. And foreign affairs minister Kabinga Pande has called for exploitation of business opportunities among Africans.

Speaking after she received the diplomatic exequatur [or credentials] from Pande designating her as The Gambia's honorary consul to Zambia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Njie said the late president Mwanawasa was a great friend of The Gambia and the African continent.

"I wish to formally commence and carry out my assignment forward in the spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding which has always existed between our two countries and governments; working in partnership for the political and social economic development of our two countries and peoples and indeed the African continent. It is no surprise that Dr Kenneth Kaunda, first president of Zambia was one of the first African heads of state to visit The Gambia after our achievement of independence in 1965," Dr Njie said. "The memory of that historic visit is still cherished and celebrated by our two governments and people. Apart from giving us support and encouragement, the foundations and very basis of the very cordial relationship, which exist between our two countries were laid during that visit. They have been sustained and endured until now and are being strengthened progressively.

"Evidence of this is the visit to The Gambia by the late, third president of Zambia Dr Levy Mwanawasa, as guest of honour on our 43rd independence anniversary on 18th February, 2008. He has left an indelible mark on the progress of our countries and continent."

She observed that the relationship between Zambia and The Gambia had always been one of mutual understanding and respect for independence, integrity and sovereignty of the two countries.

"We share the same values and aspirations both at bilateral and international levels including regional co-operation at the continental level since the attainment of independence by our two countries," she said. "This is profoundly manifested in our common membership of the African Union (AU), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Commonwealth, the United Nations and several other regional and international organisations."

Dr Njie said she hoped that Zambia and The Gambia would identify areas of co-operation and assistance in mechanised agriculture and wildlife conservation including the manufacturing of agricultural implements and farming equipment, handicrafts and local industries to promote small indigenous businesses.

"Tourism, light manufacturing industries, youth and cultural development, education, judiciary, training and human resource development, health, particularly primary health care and the fight against HIV/AIDS which is devastating our continent and exchanges in other areas of common interest will doubtless be further identified in the laudable endeavour," Dr Njie said.

And Pande said Zambia and The Gambia enjoyed a warm relationship.

"Your role should contribute to the identification and exploitation of business opportunities in Zambia, thereby helping to strengthen the already existing bilateral relations and cooperation between Zambia and The Gambia," Pande said. "There has been this trend; I think it's a perception that we have as Africans that investment should only come from outside Africa. I think that is a wrong way of looking at things. African countries can invest in each other's country; we have people in The Gambia who can invest in Zambia and vice versa and therefore your appointment should ensure that at least this happens and this is how you will measure your success."

Pande said he had no doubt that Dr Njie's appointment coupled with her knowledge of the Zambian business environment placed her in a better position to ensure that cooperation between Zambia and The Gambia was heightened.

Dr Njie, a Gambian resident in Zambia, owns AT Dental Surgery Limited.

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