Friday, September 24, 2010

VP Lays RASCOM’s Satellite Project Foundation Stone

As Gambia Vows to Increase Its Share Capital

VOL:1 ISSN:11 The Vice President of The Gambia on recently laid the Foundation Stone for the establishment of the Assembly of Parties of the Regional African Satellite Communication (RASCOM) Second Network Operations Centre in The Gambia, at Senegambia.
However, the laying of the foundation stone was preceded by the opening of the 11th Ordinary Meeting of RASCOM Assembly of Parties, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, where she disclosed that The Gambia is hosting one of the Network Operations Centres (NOC) on the RASCOM systems, funds for which, she understood have already been acquired and currently being disbursed.
Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy who was speaking on behalf of President Jammeh stated that in view of the importance of the project, her government has already allocated land to RASCOM, as they earnestly look forward to the commencement of the civil construction works.
Although the centre will be located in The Gambia, she noted that the benefits spread far beyond our boarders, making it urgent and important to call for the works. “It is also important that all such projects are implemented so that the complete satellite system and infrastructure is created, in place for use and patronage by the respective national telecoms operators providing ICT services in Africa,” she told the Assembly of Parties.
As Governments, she stressed that they will work with RASCOM to ensure that their services are of the highest quality, affordable and a competitive and attractive marketing in order to earn RASCOM services and facilities wider for a wider patronage by national operators and other users.
According to her, the Government of The Gambia is, in addition to increasing its shareholding in 2008, committed to make additional investment to increase its share capital in RASCOM. “The exact amount for this venture will be communicated soon,” she said.
The outgoing Chairman of RASCOM Assembly of Parties, Minister of Information and Communications of Sudan, Alhassan Alhatib called on African leaders to be committed to responding to RASCOMS quest in its financing and investments.
“Most of our partners were not financially supporting RASCOM during my tenure,” he lamented. He said: “Africa remains the most underserved continent in terms of telecommunication and for this reason; I urge all African nations to extend the communication system to the rural areas, in order to bridge the digital divide.”
For his part the Minister of Industry, Trade and Employment, Yusupha Kah highlighted some strategic successes of RASCOM between 2003 and 2008, which include the establishment of the execution agreements of RASCOM that sets out the regulatory framework for RASCOMStar-QAF – the commercial arm of RASCOM.
“The achievement of financial closure for the construction of the first Pan-African satellite; the acquisition of land in Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Libya and The Gambia for RASCOM project; bringing on board RASCOM the Non-Signatory partners like the West African Development Bank (BAOD),” he outlined among other things.
He said that these colossal achievements constitute added impetus to the success of the RASCOM project, while urging partner signatories to collectively lend continuous support to the project as it aims to multiply the number of satellites dedicated to Africa under this sustainable project.

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