The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pavi Fort Road Construction Company, Alimu Sanu Barrie, was on the 28th October 2021 sitting comfortable among other contractors, who inter alia won a road construction contract, in Banjul The Gambia, to witness an important watershed in the infrastructural development of the West African State, that which has to do with the laying of the foundation stone by President Adama Barrow for the construction of a 50 kilometre OIC Urban Roads Project.

Indeed, it was a brighter and carnival-like day in Greater Banjul as hundreds and hundreds of Gambians, with some foreigners among them, converged at the venue in Brufut, within the Greater Banjul Area and the West Coast Region, to see history in the making. People from different walks of life were in a jubilant mood, singing and dancing to traditional drumming for what many considered as a positive move by the Barrow-led Government although there were certain dissenting expressed opinions on Social Media that the roads project is not a top national priority in comparison to other felt needs. However, in any democratic political dispensation such is obvious as all cannot toe the same line at the same time.

During the commencement of the program, which was moderated by the Minister of Transport, Bai Lamin Jobbe, representatives of the host community, Brufut, welcomed President Barrow, the Vice President and all to their community to witness another important occasion which has to do with development. They endorsed their unflinching support for the project and pledged to do all within their reach to see its successful implementation up to completion stage.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretariat in The Gambia, Yankuba Dibba, in his statement disclosed how the Secretariat was established to mobilize resources, identify and implement key infrastructural projects in preparation of the 14th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the OIC. “However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and certain bureaucratic red tapism it was postponed to April 2022,” he further revealed adding how they are delighted to have weathered the storm disclosing that the forthcoming OIC Summit to be held in 2022 will be the 15th Summit .

Yankuba Dibba said the Secretariat will leave no stone unturned in order to make The Gambia proud. He said due to the proliferation of vehicles and expansion in human activities there is now the need for an overhaul of the country’s infrastructure to match up with contemporary trends.

“Though this road construction will definitely pose inconveniences for some yet I am craving for maximum cooperation with the contractors because at the end of the day after completion traffic congestion will be considerably reduced,” the OIC Secretariat CEO assured.

Transport Minister of The Gambia, Bai Lamin Jobbe, informed the audience that the urban roads project is a long awaited one adding how it neatly falls under the Government’s National Development Plan. “This project will be implemented against two backdrops, one which has to do with enhancing infrastructural development and as well in preparation for the hosting of the OIC Conference next year,” he told a jubilant crowd that responded with deafening applauses adding that the roads will be constructed into two carriages each with solar powered street lights, proper drainages, a parking lot and other facilities.

“When completed the benefits will be immense which include reducing the travelling time, minimize carbon monoxide emissions and bring varying economic benefits to the nation among others,” he stated greeted by a thunderous chanting by the crowd, “We want Barrow, We don’t need old Pa” followed by a cacophony of cheering.

The Minister appealed for all to work closely with the contractors for the timely and qualitative completion of the road project. He then extended thanks to the Saudi Development Fund for funding the project and residents of the community where the project is implemented for their support and cooperation.

In his keynote address, President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow said it is with great pleasure and hope for a better Gambia for all that he is joining them to lay the foundation stone for a fifty-kilometre Urban Roads Project in the West Coast Region and Kanifing Municipality. He welcomed all to the auspicious occasion furthering how it is “another major milestone in the development process of the necessary infrastructure for the successful hosting of the OIC Summit in 2022”.

The President told the jubilant crowd that the development of, “these busy roads will solve the difficulties of schoolchildren, patients, business persons and the numerous commuters who struggle daily to board the few vehicles that ply these congested areas”.

He continued that, “Through such projects, access to schools, hospitals and other social amenities and services will be enhanced gradually throughout the country.” The President intimated that the 50KM road will have 45% asphalt pavement and 5% concrete pavement. He added that when completed, the project will vitally expand the country’s urban road network to accommodate the increasing volume of road traffic, address the need for more effective road safety measures and set up an efficient drainage system within the Greater Banjul Area.

President Barrow disclosed that the project duration is 14 months and that twenty (20) roads will be constructed which will constitute the 50km Roads Project.

The President underscored that t is obvious that the construction of good roads, where they are needed most, can boost commercial engagements and improve the image of urban settings.

He congratulated the contractors for winning the contract and the OIC Secretariat for the efforts they are making to host a successful summit come 2022.

It will be recalled that two contractors won the bidding competition for the implementation of the 50KM road project. They are SSTP-CSE –Al Fahd Company JV for Lot1 and Pavi Fort –Gambisara-Huta JV for Lot 2.

In an exclusive interview by the author, Amin Kef, aka Ranger, who is the Publisher and Managing Editor of The Calabash Newspaper, who travelled to The Gambia primarily to witness the event, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pavi Fort Roads Construction Company, Alimu Sanu Barrie, stated that the company is in top gear to deliver on its mandate. According to him the company’s equipment and workforce are well positioned and ready to go into full action. He revealed that because of the 14 months duration of the Project, Pavi Fort commenced light work before the laying of the foundation stone ceremony was held which, he said, shows the level of preparedness and commitment to fulfill its obligation. “This is a litmus test and I as well as my team are totally committed to deliver qualitative works within the stipulated completion date,” he assured adding that establishing a flourishing operation of the company in the ECOWAS sub-region is effectively in progress, with business activities currently going on in Sierra Leone, Gambia and Guinea.

He disclosed that the company is also fully registered in Liberia and Ghana and will continue to explore investment opportunities in the region
Alimu Sanu Barrie also revealed that he has over twenty-five years of entrepreneurial experience in the execution of large-scale development projects adding how the company has of late invested a lot in the areas of procuring heavy-duty machinery, Logistics management, estate development, Quarrying, building and road construction.

“It is high time to make the whole world know that Sierra Leoneans can compete in roads construction at the sub-regional as well as the global level and that is exactly what Pavi Fort has proven in winning a roads project contract in The Gambia and we are proud of flying high the Green, White and Blue flag of Sierra Leone,” he concluded.