Senegalese President Macky Sall and Gambian President Adama Barrow have inaugurated the new Senegambia Bridge after years of completion.
“We can be proud to have turned this dream of several generations into a reality. This bridge which has been in discussion since the 1970s, had been affected as the relationship between Dakar and Banjul evolved,” said President Sall.
Located in Gambian territory, crossing the Gambia River, about ten kilometres from the Farafenni border crossing point, the bridge, an elegant light concrete structure more than a kilometre long.
The bridge, which is aimed at boosting trade in West Africa, is part of the Trans-Gambia Road Corridor, a vital economic and strategic link connecting the north and south banks of the Gambia River as well as The Gambia, Senegal and other countries in the sub-region.
“I’am very happy about this new development, now you can cross the bridge and be back just within a day. It used takes truck drivers and other heavy commercial drivers 10 to 20 days waiting for their turn on the ferry which is a waste of time, money and spoilage of goods. This will be a thing of the past now,” said President Adama Barrow.
Construction began in 2015, under Yahya Jammeh. It will enable those who want to travel from the north of Senegal to its southern region of Casamance, a tourist and agricultural region whose development has been hampered by its geographic isolation from the rest of the country – to avoid having to take a detour of some 400km.
The opening of the bridge illustrates the dramatic warming of relations between the two countries, long marked by disputes over transportation, fishing and borders, despite the fact that their inhabitants share common languages, ethnic origins and many professional, family and commercial ties.
This rapprochement took place when Mr. Barrow came to power in January 2017, as Senegal was at the forefront of diplomatic and, above all, military pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to force Yahya Jammeh to concede defeat in the December 2016 presidential election.