The Senegalo-Gambian Business Forum initially scheduled to take place in Dakar on 25 and 26 May 2017 has been rescheduled to take place on 5 and 6 October 2017.
Ambassador Paul BADJI, Executive Secretary of the Senegalo – Gambian Permanent Secretariat disclosed this to the media during a press briefing held recently at his office based at Cape Point in Bakau.
Mr BADJI said the reason for the extension of the date is to enable both countries prepare to ensure full political commitments of the two leaders, and ensure that they are fully represented.
He added that the extension of the date will enable both Governments to prepare to ensure that they come out with concrete declaration on the way forward, with recommendations for follow-up activities, and not just talk-chop event.
He said the decision to reschedule the Forum was made after consultations with both the Senegalese Prime Minister and the Gambian ‘Vice President’.
He further indicated that the coming Ramadan, as well as the rainy season are among contributing factors for postponing the Forum.
We want to come up with concrete action points from the Forum that will be effectively implemented, for the benefit and development of the two Countries,” aid Mr BADJI.
He expressed belief that the two Countries are the same family that is divided by political boundaries, adding: “We want progressive ideas to take us forward, and to do away with the old form of negative mindsets.”
He further disclosed that the proposed Business Forum will come up with concrete ideas, in the form of declaration in which a set up Committee will make the necessary follow-up to the recommendations emanating from the Forum.
He added that the Committee will also work towards the hosting of a follow-up Forum in The Gambia next year, as well as other follow-up annual Forum and implementations of recommendations.
He said the Committee’s activities will as well be reviewed to ensure that the Forum is not just a talk and chop event, but to ensure that it yields dividends for the progress of the two nations.
In a bit to ensure political commitment of both Governments and their officials, BADJI said they also met various Ministers, including the Ministers of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Directors, Bank Managers, and other relevant administrators of various institutions to brief them about the event, with a view to ensuring their full participation.
He said the Forum will look into potential areas of investments, including renewable energy and water and see how best Nawec and Sonalec can collaborate to improve access to energy and water supplying systems in both countries.
Ambassador Sheriff Abba Sanyang, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat thanked the media for their collaboration, and assured all that their doors are open to the public for consultation and knowledge sharing.
Information shared by Mr Saikou B. Jarju, Director of Finance states: “The Gambia and Senegal share deep historical, cultural and ancestral ties. In the words of many, it is the question of two Nations, one people, physically divided by the cruel vestiges of a colonial past. Given the geo-political realities of both countries, what affects one country in terms of security and socio-economic realities will have a direct impact on the other.
“Following the visit of President Adama Barrow to Senegal, the Governments of The Gambia and Senegal have committed themselves to raising the two country’s bilateral relations to a strategic partnership. On 4th March 2017, the two heads of state agreed to establish a Presidential Council which would meet every six months. The Council will be jointly chaired by the two heads of state to examine all issues of bilateral interest and provide guidance to the two Governments for deepening cooperation. The two leaders also signed agreements in the areas of defense and security, tourism and consular affairs, as well as air and maritime transport, justice, fisheries, road transport and forestry.
“It is therefore the mandate of The Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat as an Interstate Institution for harmonization of policies, and cooperation between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal, to play the leading role in the administration of these protocols. This however cannot be achieved without the full participation of the people of both countries in an interactive manner through the usual Senegambia spirit.”