State House, Banjul,– The outgoing Senegalese Ambassador to The Gambia, His Excellency, Professor Salieu Ndiaye has described The Gambia’s development blueprint as an excellent plan which needs the support of everyone to make its goals achievable.
The envoy on Sunday bade farewell to His Excellency President Adama Barrow at the State House after serving over five years in The Gambia as the representative of President Macky Sall. He has come to the end of his tour of duty in Banjul and will be returning back to Dakar.
“There are great transformations ongoing in rural infrastructure, access to energy, institutional building, and reforms, among other areas. It will require strong participation of the population to ensure its success,” Ambassador Ndiaye told the State House press corps after his audience with President Barrow.
For President Barrow, Senegal and The Gambia will always be one people in spite of their colonial legacies. “What binds the two people are greater than what divides us”, he said as he thanked the government and people of Senegal through their envoy for standing by The Gambia in times of need.
President Barrow and President Sall had constituted a Presidential Council in response to the need for nurturing the special bilateral relations between the two countries. Under this council, they hold meetings twice per year where various ministers from each side will meet with their counterparts to discuss areas of interests. This is followed by the signing of agreements presided over by the two Heads of State.
The concept of Senegambia integration began with the meeting in 1970 between President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara and his Senegalese counterpart, Leopold Sedat Senghore. Ambassador Ndiaye said those two leaders did very well to promote the concept, culminating into the signing of the Confederation agreement in 1981 between Presidents Abdou Diouf and Jawara in the context of Pan-African integration.
“Despite its shortfalls, the two countries continued to enjoy special relations in many aspects until today. President Sall had said the Confederation failed for obvious reasons and such a concept cannot be materialised today. Hence The Gambia and Senegal can only continue to co-exist as independent, sovereign republics,” he maintained, noting that there is still a need to nurture the special relationship based on mutual respect and understanding between the two states.
Senegal and The Gambia shared the same cultures, surnames, foods, religion, and others. The current focus of the two governments are in the areas of free movements of goods, services, and persons; joint security and defense agreements, infrastructural and energy cooperation as well as fisheries and environmental agreements, among a host of others.