by Mariatou Ngum
Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof, the Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration, and Employment has been awarded an Honourary Doctorate Degree in Entrepreneurship for his immense contributions, as Chief Executive Officer of The Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union (GTUCCU), to the growth of the union, and to alleviating poverty, promoting economic growth and infrastructural development in the country.
The University of Entrepreneurs & Technology (UET) State of Delaware, in the United States of America (USA), a leading research-oriented private institution, made the pronouncement during a degree conferment ceremony held at the Gambia Teachers’ Union (GTU) headquarters in Kanifing.
The event was graced by representatives of the UET, family, GTU, the National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions in The Gambia (NACCUG), colleagues, and students from various schools.
In his acceptance speech, Minister Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof thanked the President of the Republic, His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow for elevating him to this level, and the UET, for the award.
He remarked: “Coming to today’s occasion, I really don’t know what emotion to exhibit. I have over-achieved in life and I thank God for that, but I also thank you people for sitting around me today – family, friends, and colleagues. I am grateful to Delaware University; the world is a global village; what we do here radiates through”.
The Trade Minister further remarked: “I wish the teachers were all able to come here today and recall some of the experiences they had working with me. I am no special person, I am no angel, and I have my sins as an individual but one thing I have never wanted to see happen was the tears of my members. I always wanted to find a solution even if that meant going against the rules”.
For his part, Ebrima Sisawo, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education said that Hon Joof’s contributions transcend the credit union activities; that he has been a great source of inspiration and has touched the lives of many Gambians beyond the teaching fraternity.
According to him, Hon Joof has not only contributed to the body of knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship but also, he has created entrepreneurs in the country. “We are very proud of you and this award is well deserved, congratulations!” he remarked.
Alhaji Omar J. Ndure, former president of GTU, described Hon Joof as an epitome of the serenity of selflessness, patriotism, and love for the country. He said the awardee has demonstrated an embodiment of caring, love, empathy, patience, and strong feelings for the underprivileged, and the disadvantaged and that he is always ready to serve and deliver.
“He has been keen in listening and goes all out to respond to people’s demands. You are awarding a deserving son of The Gambia and Africa, and we all are proud of him,” Ndure told the representatives of UET.