After a long diplomatic saga between the two West African countries over border crossing rendered both economies half-way handicapped, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has poured cold water into the matter, leading to a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Jammeh’s and Sall’s goverments.
The two governments, which have opted to restore normalcy, on Friday signed an MoU for the construction of the trans-Gambia bridge and the rehabilitation of a cross-border road section to link Keur Ayib-Senoba-Farrafenni-Bounkiling.
The Gambia’s Foreign minister Mambury Njie and his Senegalese counterpart Alioune Badara Cisse sealed the deal on behalf of their respective governments.
The Senegalese Foreign Affairs minister disclosed that the cost involved to implement this project stands in the region of CFA50 billion.
The funds are coming from the coffer of the African Development Bank, with a construction period of five years.
He said the laying of the foundation stone of this work is scheduled to take place later in this month.
Mr Badara Cisse describes the project as probably the largest project in the history of the new Senegalese government under President Macky Sall, who came to office four months ago.
“Our worship of diplomacy is the one that allowed us to reap these benefits,” reported Minister Badara Cisse.
The first country to have been visited by Macky Sall, a few days after his inaugural ceremony, was The Gambia.
It was seen by many political and economic analysts as a step in the right direction, for Mr Sall’s cabinet.
Issues that were discussed in that Banjul meeting included the restoration of peace in Cassamance in southern Senegal, after analysts figured out that Jammeh is crucial in the process of maintaining peace in the embattled Cassamance – one of Africa’s longest civil wars.
“In the meeting between the two heads of state, important decisions were made for a perfect cohesion in relationships,” our sources said.
“Fraternal exchanges, firm pledges were made among them in today’s event which is the signing of a memorandum of the bridge,” said Minister Cisse.
For him, the signing is a symbolical diplomatic triumph, given the nature of the much-talked about Senegambia dream and the symbiotic existence between the two sisterly countries.
“Also, history will record that this historic moment happens under the regime of Presidents Sall and Jammeh.
The free movement of persons and their property, between The Gambia and Senegal will benefit both countries”.
“Also, history will record that this historic moment happens under the regime of Presidents Sall and Jammeh,” he concluded.
The construction of the bridge will begin before the end of 2012, The Gambia’s foreign minister Mambury Njie said, adding that the project is coming into reality after long negotiations, a development that will further strengthen the old ties between the two countries.
“The free movement of persons and their property, between The Gambia and Senegal will benefit both countries,” he said.
He saluted the two leaders for the laud initiative and assured of The Gambia’s commitment and readiness to adhere to the agreement.