D3.8B Senegambia Bridge Commission

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

President Adama Barrow alongside his counterpart Macky Sall, president of the Republic of Senegal, on Monday, 21 January 2019 presided over the inauguration of the much awaited Trans-Gambia Bridge at Farafenni in the North Bank Region.

The bridge according to President Barrow is now called Senegambia Bridge. It is one of the biggest in the sub-region with a length of 1.9 kilometres and over five storeys high. It is designed to be a tolled-bridge that would accommodate the passage of most vessels, while longer-mast boats can easily fold their masts to pass under the bridge. The bridge is 100 years guaranteed by the contractors.

Speaking at the ceremony, The president of the Republic of The Gambia, Adama Barrow said that it was with profound joy and happiness that he welcomed his brother and friend President Macky Sall of Senegal, while thanking him for gracing the occasion.

Barrow said given the geographic location of The Gambia and Senegal, he didn’t know why it took so long to build a bridge at this point across the River Gambia. Despite the delay, he said, the magnificent bridge will henceforth be a major component of the Trans-Gambia corridor for integration and development within the ECOWAS sub-region.

According to him, the bridge was solely funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) through a grant of over D3.5B, and thus commended the ADB for the immense and laudable support. “It is great to learn that the life expectancy of the bridge is 100 years and that all river vessels are guaranteed navigation without hindrance.”

Barrow added that for many years a lot of agriculture produce from both Senegal and The Gambia have perished in standing trucks that waited for their turns to cross the river using the ferry, but said the completion of the bridge will mark the end of such hardships.

“The issue of maintaining and servicing broken down ferries at this point will now be history. The easy movement of people and faster delivery of goods and services are now guaranteed. In addition, the social institutions of both banks of the river serve their purposes.”

Economically, the president said the bridge would generate revenue and eliminate economic loss to government and travellers due to crossing hurdles. He therefore thanked all those that contributed to the construction of the bridge, adding that ADB has strongly demonstrated their commitment to supporting the development, unity and integration of African countries.

The Gambian leader paid tribute to the government of Senegal for their support throughout the project, saying that’s why it was called Senegambia. “We eat the same food and speak the same language. Today is a great day to stand here and open the bridge. No one can separate the two countries.”

The integration of Africa, President Barrow stated, must start with Gambia and Senegal; and then move forward while expressing hope that the bridge would serve its intended purpose. He added that his wish was to ensure that henceforth the bridge stands as a symbol of Senegambia unity, friendship and love.

For his part, the president of Senegal, Macky Sall, said if they didn’t have vision and ambition for their countries, Africa cannot complete such a development. “Africa was the same before colonisation. We were the same before we were colonised by the British and the French but our Mandinka, Wollof, Jola we own it.”   

He thanked President Barrow for inviting him on the historical event. “Something big is happening today. This January 21st 2019 is a joy day in the history of our Senegambia family. I stand in front of you on behalf of your sisters and brothers of Senegal to pay tribute to my brother and friend President Barrow and to all Gambian people for the great achievement we made together with the support of the ADB.”

The feat, he said, could not have been achieved without the political support and leadership of President Barrow. “I thank you for this laudable achievement.” 

Author: Momodou Jawo