The University of The Gambia (UTG) inaugurated CIFAL Banjul -an International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders at its Kanifing Campus on Tuesday, 13th June 2023.
The event, hosted by UTG Vice Chancellor, Professor Herbert Robinson, was attended by the Hon. Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology (MoHERST), Professor Pierre Gomez, the UNITAR Director of Division for People and Social Inclusion, Mr. Alex Mejia, the Director of CIFAL Malaga, Julio Andrade Ruiz, faculty members and administrative staff of UTG.
CIFAL Banjul is designed to provide a range of training opportunities and other knowledge-sharing events to support sustainable development, particularly, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030). It will also strengthen stakeholder engagement and support sustainable financing by addressing the gaps in the training of key stakeholders.
In his opening remarks, Vice Chancellor Robinson thanked UNITAR for supporting UTG in establishing this great initiative and highlighted that CIFAL Banjul is established to respond to the needs and aspirations of The Gambia.
“CIFAL Banjul is ready for business to support our key stakeholders – public sector, private sector, civil society, and international development partners,” said Vice Chancellor, Professor Robinson. Vice Chancellor Robinson also highlighted that such an admirable initiative will significantly help in the realization of the six strategic priorities he set out for the advancement of UTG following his appointment in January 2022.
The Vice-Chancellor further intimated that the center will provide both physical and virtual training in topical areas such as environment and climate change financing trade- particularly the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), circular economy (Waste Management), public health, smart agriculture, food and nutrition, agriculture value chain development, gender mainstreaming, and youth empowerment, among others.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Alex Mejia the UNITAR Director of Division for People and Social Inclusion emphasized the need for capacity building, noting that there cannot be any development without it. He stressed the need to address our challenges using locally conceived and implemented solutions and expressed UNITAR’s commitment to supporting CIFAL Banjul in achieving its goals.
On his part, the Honourable Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology, Prof. Pierre Gomez, highlighted the many initiatives the Government is taking to attain the SDGs and build capacity. While declaring the CIFAL Banjul center officially open, Prof. Gomez pledged his and his Ministry’s commitment to supporting UTG and the Centre and challenged the academics to be “the torch-bearers and lead their people to the promised land”.
The event ended with an official handing over of the UN flag by the UNITAR Director of Division for People and Social Inclusion to the Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia marking a strong commitment by the UN and UTG to promote the principles and values of the United Nations.