EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Outgoing Senegalese Ambassador to The Gambia has branded President Adama Barrow-led government’s development blueprint; National Development Plan (NDP) as an excellent plan that needs the support of everyone.
Professor Salieu Ndiaye Wednesday bid farewell to President Barrow at the State House in Banjul, following his over five years stint in The Gambia as representative of President Macky Sall.
“There are great transformations 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.
The National Development Plan -2018 -2021- was launched in February 2018, formulated through a participatory process involving government institutions, private sector, NGOs, CSOs, local communities and other development partners, elaborates the goals, objectives and priorities of government in the next four years.
For President Barrow, Senegal and The Gambia will always be one people in spite of their colonial legacies. “What binds the two people is greater than what divides us,” he said, as he thank the government and people of Senegal through their envoy for standing by The Gambia in time 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 Senegambia integration concept began with a meeting between Presidents Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara and Leopold Sedat Senghore in 1970.
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 that the Confederation failed for obvious reasons and such a concept cannot be materialised today. The Gambia and Senegal can only continue to co-exist as independent sovereign republics,” he said, noting that there is still a need to nurture the special relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.
Senegal and The Gambia shared the same cultures, surnames, foods, religion, and others. The current focus of the two governments is in the areas of free movement of goods, services, and persons; joint security and defense agreements, infrastructural and energy cooperation as well as fisheries and environmental agreements, among host of others.