In May 2022, a serendipitous introduction to the concept of open protocols and the remarkable success story of Beckn in India sparked a transformative idea. Sulayman Gibba and Dr. Anit Mukhejee invited me to discuss the possibility of expanding this revolutionary experiment to The Gambia. The leaders of Beckn, Pramod Varma, Sujith Nair and Rajeesh Menon  recognizing the potential, eagerly supported the concept, thus giving birth to Foundation for Digital Economy (FoDE) and Open Gambia (OGa). What started as a seed of an idea soon gained momentum, leading to a momentous gathering in January 2023. This blog post takes you through the journey of Open Gambia, where young students and FoDe Advisory embarked on a mission to revolutionize the commercial landscape.

The Inaugural Encounter:
The Tropic Center in Senegambia, Banjul, The Gambia, became the venue for an unforgettable event—the inaugural encounter between enthusiastic young students and FoDe Advisory. This gathering marked an introduction to a captivating notion of Open Protocol, the Beckn Playbook and their profound potential to transform the existing commercial ecosystem. The energy in the room was palpable as the students began to envision the endless possibilities that lay ahead.

Forming Team Gambia:
With a clear mission in mind, the next step was to assemble a dedicated team to champion the cause. Led by the inspiring Jainaba Sowe, Team Gambia was formed. In collaboration with Team India, a series of training sessions on the Beckn Protocol concept were organized, and led by Anirban, Yukti Sharma delving deep into the intricacies to equip the students with the necessary skills to propel this vision forward. 

The Inaugural Encounter
The Tropic Center in Senegambia, Banjul, The Gambia. Sual Gibba - FoDE Chief Mentor with FoDE Ambassadors.

Exploring the Gambian Landscape:
Armed with newfound knowledge, Team Gambia embarked on a journey of exploration. Through extensive research and meticulous data gathering, they unearthed fascinating insights about the Gambian landscape. Among their findings were remarkable observations, such as the widespread smartphone usage in the Kombo region, with most individuals within their target group actively engaged on Facebook and WhatsApp. Surprisingly, cash payments still dominated, accounting for over 90% of transactions, while taxi and personal vehicle hiring relied heavily on voice calls. The penetration of app-based payments was found to be minimal, if any.

Preparing for Kigali Global Connect:
Energized by their discoveries, Team Gambia and Team India are gearing up to participate in the prestigious Kigali Global Connect. This event will serve as an opportunity to share the vision of the Foundation for Digital Economy (FoDe) and its potential impact. The first pilot project will be conducted in The Gambia, exploring the uncharted territories of possibilities. The FoDE Executive Director Modou NS Njie and FoDE Ambassadors through partnerships with the government, community leaders, and other stakeholders, will work to onboard partners onto the network, fostering a collaborative environment for progress.

Foundation for Digital economy (FoDe) and Open Gambia's (OGa) journey represents the power of collaboration, innovation, and a shared vision for a brighter future. By embracing the concept of Open Networks and actively involving the younger generation, this initiative has the potential to transform The Gambia's commercial landscape and ignite a digital revolution. As the stage is set for the Kigali Global Connect, the story of Open Gambia (OGa) is just beginning—an inspiring tale of young leaders championing change and pioneering the way towards a thriving digital economy.

Joseph Jassey
FoDE Chief Ochestrator