20 June 2023, Banjul, The Gambia - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in partnership with the University of The Gambia (UTG) launched CIFAL Banjul on Tuesday 13 June 2023. The event was held at UTG’s Kanifing Campus under the chairmanship of Professor Herbert Robinson, Vice Chancellor of the University, and in the presence of the Honourable Pierre Gomez, Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology of The Gambia, and of Mr. Alex Mejia, Head of the CIFAL Global Network and Division Director at UNITAR, amongst several faculty members and representatives of the administration.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Mejia congratulated UTG for their commitment to adult education and also invited everyone in attendance to embrace the premise that for development to occur, capacity building is required. He also reaffirmed UNITAR’s continuous commitment to The Gambia, and the need to enhance training opportunities to contribute towards sustainable development in the country. The Honourable Minister recognised the importance of the SDGs and highlighted the unwavering commitment of the Government of The Gambia in ensuring the smooth operation of the Centre in the country. Professor Robinson in his statement thanked UNITAR for trusting one of its international Training Centres to UTG, and reiterated that CIFAL Banjul is ready for business and that it will significantly contribute to the realization of the strategic priorities set out for the University.
The event concluded with the handing over of the United Nations flag by Mr. Mejia to Professor Robinson, followed by the cutting of the ribbon at the entrance of the new CIFAL hosted at the UTG. CIFAL Banjul will provide a range of learning opportunities around the following themes which were identified as key priorities for The Gambia:
- UN Sustainable Development Goals at the local level
- Environment and Climate Change Financing for Africa
- Challenges and opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
- Circular Economy and Waste Management
- Public Health and Data Management
- Gender Mainstreaming
- Youth Empowerment
In parallel to the inauguration of CIFAL Banjul, UNITAR also co-hosted a four-day intensive training programme on Cybercrime and Cybersecurity in cooperation with the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center (ROLACC), and under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of The Gambia. Trainers from the Gambian Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, ROLACC and CIFAL Doha led the workshop, held from 12 to 15 June, for 45 participants from various West African nations, including Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Ghana, The Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire.
The objective of the training was to enhance the capacity of the participants in addressing the rising challenges posed by cybercrime, and to foster collaboration among West African nations and the private sector in combating cyber threats. The training programme was delivered by the organizing entities to support public officials working on institutions of the justice system, particularly specialists such as lawyers, policemen and judges, amongst other civil servants in charge of justice administration and law enforcement. The workshop covered a wide range of topics, including cyber threats and vulnerabilities, digital forensics, legal frameworks for combating cybercrime, international cooperation, and incident response strategies. Practical exercises and case studies allowed participants to examine real-world scenarios.
On the final day of the workshop, His Excellency Dr. Mamadou Tangara, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of The Gambia, alongside ROLACC and UNITAR representatives, awarded certificates of completion to all participants.