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India extends $500,000 assistance to Gambia during President Kovind's visit


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President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday held delegation-level talks with his Gambian counterpart President Adama Barrow in Banjul and promised to extend an assistance of USD 500,000 in support of skill development and cottage industry projects in the West African country.
During the meeting, India also received an instrument of ratification of the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement from Gambia.
"Will pave the way for collaboration between India-Gambia on solar energy and help combat climate change. India to set up solar projects in select Gambian villages," the Rashtrapati Bhavan announced on Twitter.
During the subsequent one-to-one discussions with his counterpart, the President congratulated Barrow for his win in the Presidential elections held in December 2016 that led to the restoration of democracy in Gambia. He said that it was a watershed moment for the West African nation and for the democratic world.
President Kovind thanked President Barrow for writing a piece - 'What Mahatma Gandhi means to me' for the 'Gandhi Anthology', a compilation of write-ups on Gandhiji to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary.
President Kovind further acknowledged that India is privileged to be a trusted partner for Gambia in its growth and prosperity. "We are honoured to have built the National Assembly Building of Gambia under our concessional financing arrangement," he said.
On his part, President Barrow acknowledged the positive role played by the Indian community for the progress and prosperity of his country. The Indian leader also conveyed his appreciation for the support given by the Gambian government to the Indian community.
The two sides also signed and exchanged a Memoranda of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.
The President said that capacity building is one of the strengths of India. "We are happy to partner Gambia in training and capacity building. India also agreed to offer training in the fields of judiciary, police, administration and technical expertise, as per Gambia's request and in line with the priorities of Gambia," he said.
"In recent months, India has organised special training programmes for the Gambian Permanent Secretaries and senior civil servants as well as diplomats," the President added.
The President further noted that India is among the top trading partners of Gambia. "Our bilateral trade in 2018-19 crossed USD 200 million, representing an increase of nearly 100 per cent in last two years," he said.
"India seeks Gambia's continued support for Indian enterprises and investment, and for the community. Both sides must work together to see how we can improve bilateral trade further in the coming years," he added.
Following the meeting, the President also attended a luncheon banquet hosted in his honour by the Gambian president.
President Kovind arrived in Banjul on Tuesday and was received by his Gambian counterpart. This was the first-ever visit of the Head of State from India to Gambia.
On his arrival, the President was accorded ceremonial welcome.
President Kovind arrived in Banjul after completing the first leg of his visit to Benin.
In Benin, Kovind offered concessional financial assistance of USD 100 million to Benin with an aim to help the West African country meet its Sustainable Development Goals.

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First Published: Jul 31 2019 | 7:36 PM IST

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