Wednesday, October 4

Senegalo-Gambia relation offers us a springboard and a shining –

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example for Africa transformation – President Barrow

By Binta Jaiteh &Sheriff Musa

President Adama Barrow has said that Senegalo-Gambia relations offer a springboard and a shining example for Africa’s transformation. 

“We have to dream bigger and explore viable options for a more formidable river transport system and a common rail service as flagship projects. In general, transportation is a crucial factor in facilitating socio-economic development in various sectors of our economies,” President Barrow expressed on the occasion of the third Senegalo-Gambian Presidential Council Session on Tuesday at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre.

 He added: “We need to further encourage our technicians to hasten the implementation of the recommendations and agreements arising from our Council Meetings. Doing so would augment the implementation rate of our commitments, and the outcomes of our policies and programs would have a greater impact on the lives and livelihoods of the citizens they target.” 

The Gambian President noted that domesticating regulations on air transport between Dakar and Banjul is a clear example of positive action for enhanced socio-economic progress for our people.  

He commended Senegalese President MackySall, for his recent declaration to voluntarily step down after two terms of his presidency, saying it has not only generated hope but also revitalized the democratic aspirations of his citizens and the people of the ECOWAS sub-region. 

He added that his counterpart “President Sall” has set an example for other leaders in Africa to follow, especially those that their Constitutions prescribe term limits; thus, his courage and consideration for democracy to thrive is worth commendation. 

President Barrow stated that this meeting provides them with a valuable opportunity to review the agreements and commitments concluded during the Second Presidential Council Meeting held in Dakar in 2020 and foster a more robust and mutually beneficial relationship.

 “Our vision is to collaborate fully in fulfillment of the aspirations and expectations of the people. No wonder our strategy is results-based and reflects a collective desire to successfully implement projects with higher dividend yields. The Senegambia Bridge Project provides a typical example. This results-oriented approach can only be reinforced and sustained through regular Presidential Council sessions. 

“Since its establishment, the Presidential Council has consolidated and accelerated the implementation of important bilateral commitments. It is my belief that the Experts and Ministerial Meetings that preceded this Council Session provide a solid platform and the opportunity to review our obligations, identify relevant challenges, and mutually forge ahead with foresight,” he pointed out.

 He highlighted the need to intensify transformative development efforts in transport, communications, energy, and trade infrastructure to upscale commerce and free movement across borders. 

President Barrow also said the urgency to strengthen efforts to address the issue of interstate road transport networks between the two countries is equally apparent, adding that “it is comforting, however, that we have already taken appropriate steps and measures to ensure that the two countries engage in profitable trade and commercial models.” 

He disclosed that regarding security, peace, and stability, practical steps have been taken to cooperate better and address regional and cross-border security issues. 

President Macky Sall said that “in every relationship there will be times when you encounter issues but we should make sure even those issues arise the ministries responsible to act on them quickly before they reach the level of the presidents.”

 He added that “they should be able to communicate among themselves – even the ambassadors should be able to communicate to each other to ensure issues are addressed at their level. We should follow all protocols that make communication difficult between the two countries,” he stated.

 He concluded that “Senegal’s main interest is about its security – we all know what is happening in Casamance and we have made it clear that we will never allow any country to harbour those people and allow them to use their territory to attack Senegal. We will not tolerate or accept anything like that and apart from that we have no problem in The Gambia,” he said.

 He commended President Barrow for always defending Gambia’s interest, adding all they do together is based on mutual respect.