The Daily Observer (Banjul)
21 March 2011
The Algerian ambassador to The Gambia Friday called on the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, at State House in Banjul.
Ambassador Abderrahmane Benguerrah, who is also overseeing the Republic of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, was at State House to discuss with Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy on the existing bilateral ties between Banjul and Algiers. Speaking to reporters shortly after meeting the VP, Ambassador Benguerrah said that he was privileged and honoured to meet and exchange views with the vice president.
He explained that their discussion was centered on the bilateral relations between The Gambia and Algeria and that they both came up to the conclusion that there are very good relations between the two countries. “We appreciate the Algerian government relations that we always had with the Republic of The Gambia. We worked together on many areas at the African Union level and at the United Nations level, so those are some of the issues that we raised and talked about during the meeting,” he added.
Asked if there are areas Algeria and The Gambia would want to explore with regards to the development of the two countries, Ambassador Benguerrah said: “We are of the view that the economic relations between our two countries are not very significant. We believe that it is very important that this relation should be elevated to a very higher level and the only way to do that is for our ministers in charge of economics matters to meet and to exchanges views as well as see what are some of the best avenues to develop this economic relations.”
In a similar engagement, VP Njie-Saidy also received in audience officials of the Ecowas Commission and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction to Ecowas. The visiting delegation, which was led to State House by the executive director of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) Essa Khan, were at the vice president’s office to discuss with her issues pertaining to the sustainability and strengthening of the recently launched National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the country, the way forward in terms of making sure it is sustainable, and the challenges it faces.
It would be recalled that the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, on Thursday presided over the official launch of this platform at the Senegambia Beach Hotel. Speaking to reporters shortly after meeting VP Njie-Saidy, Muhammed Ibrahim, the principal programme officer of Ecowas Commission on DRR based in Abuja, Nigeria, said that the Ecowas Commission plans to launch similar national platforms in the sub-region.
He further used the opportunity to thank the VP for her advice and motivation, saying they learnt a lot from the advice. Ibrahim explained that they assist institutions in a bid to promote knowledge sharing as well as good practices in all member states, and that they support other sectors in terms of capacity building in mitigating the impact of disaster in the region. “In July 2011, Ecowas Commission officials will come to The Gambia to support its’ disaster officials with regards to sharing of experience as well as exchange good practices between The Gambia and Republic of Ghana, to be able to share experiences,” he disclosed.
Aliou Dia, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk advisor to Ecowas described the national platform as an important event, saying the idea came from the Hygyo Framework for Action, which was adopted by 168 countries in Japan in 2009. He further stated that the first priority of this Framework is to put in place strong coordination mechanisms at national levels.
He added that the move is a good start for implementing activities and programmes as well as resiliencies. Dia affirmed that ISDR will work closely with the Ecowas Commission to assist in building capacities in the sub-region when it comes to DRR. “We are trying to do a lot about capacity building as well as other activities including exchange of good practices among countries in order for them to exchange ideas,” he said.
He revealed that right now they are promoting South-South cooperation, and assured that ISDR is behind the Ecowas Commission and will continue to work with them. He pointed out that they always have joint activities and programmes. He also cited the work of other UN agencies in building institutional capacities and programmes in disaster related areas in the region.
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Algerian Ambassador, Others Meet VP