Public-private partnership work when the main stakeholders put their mind to it. In The Gambia, a partnership between the government and a private company, TAF Holdings, has borne immense fruits. Here, Mustapha Njie, the CEO of TAF, relates what the company has done in partnership with the government.
In 2006, The Gambia hosted the African Union (AU) Summit and the government approached TAF Holding Company to build and furnish the presidential residences in the country. We built 52 furnished villas in four months, this was Kofi Annan’s last year as the UN secretary general and he was also in attendance.
We built and managed the AU Villas during this period and the vent itself was attended by over 45 heads of state and other dignitaries. The Summit was one of the biggest ever and went extremely well, with all our properties completed on time, and up to the standards expected by our distinguished guests.
In my new mission, I have a Pan Africa vision in addition to my passion for travelling in Africa. I have been in over 36 African countries thus far. As far as housing in concerned, TAF is now a strong brand in African housing. We have come a very long way and we want to replicate what we are doing in The Gambia in other African countries.
We have made our mark in The Gambia and our success need to be repeated in other growing African economies, targeting the increasing middle class. Our focus is not only on mansions or grand estates; we aim to be putting a roof over people’s heads, and to do it most efficiently with the services are best suited to complementing current lifestyles and need: for example, going green and eco-power.
We are targeting up to 22 other African countries, and are actually putting together a consortium on housing with a focus on technology, infrastructure and renewable energy, even the possibility of using waste energy; these are all ideas to be tested but we do allow for greater expansions, partnership and co-operation.
We have worked well, and with support from The Gambian government, we have been aided by development incentives to achieve our vision. We would like other potential African governments to see what the government has done with us here in The Gambia, in a successful public-private partnership. The regulatory framework on land administrations has encouraged us to grow and develop. We would want to see how this model can be successfully transported into other African countries. We market our properties both in and outside of The Gambia, to both Gambians and non-Gambians. We have sponsored TV documentaries in showcasing The Gambia as a tourist destination and an emerging African investment heaven. In our partnered TV campaigns, we also run inspection trips to The Gambia for our potential buyers. Overwhelmingly, the response is positive. This is direct marketing and allows people to see the properties we have to offer and the country itself.
This is important because we are not only promoting quality TAF products and homes, but the country as well. Moreover, I believe we have a responsibility to our countries in Africa as a whole. Our countries are emerging, they are growing, it’s not only the role of the government to promote the country, we are happy to do things in partnership with the government.