Gambia engages Senegal over reduction of Banjul-Dakar air fares

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Gambia Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure has engaged the Senegalese authority in a discussion on domesticating the flight route between Dakar and Banjul.

“The purpose is to reduce the taxes presently applicable as an international route, thus allowing affordability for air travel between Banjul and to Dakar, which takes no more than 25 minutes,” the ministry said in a press release issued at the end of the visit of Minister Bai Lamin Jobe and delegation to Senegal.

The Senegalese Minister of Aviation and Airport Management, Maimouna Ndoye Seck, proposed that the two ministries incorporate in the discussions other stakeholders, such as the immigration, customs, and border management authorities, so as to expedite the agreement.

The two ministers agreed that the proposal should be presented, for high-level adoption by the two countries, during the upcoming round table discussion between Senegal and The Gambia in November or December of this year.

Below is the full press statement from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure:

The Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Hon. Bai Lamin Jobe, headed a Gambian delegation to Dakar, comprising the Permanent Secretary of MOTWI, Ms. Mariama Ndure Njie, the Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal, Ebrima Ousmane Ndure, Executive Secretary, Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat, Paul Badji, Special Adviser on Investments, Office of The President, Musa Drammeh, Managing Director NRA, Momodou Senghore, to discuss with counterpart Senegalese Ministries the evolving government policies and plans in the areas of transport infrastructure and services.

On Thursday 19 October 2017 Hon Bai Lamin Jobe and his delegation met the Hon Minister Maimouna Ndoye Seck, to follow-up on prior discussion on domesticating the flight route between Dakar and Banjul. The purpose is to reduce the taxes presently applicable as an international route, thus allowing affordability for air travel between Banjul and to Dakar, which takes no more than 25 minutes.

Madame Seck laments about the slow process of the negotiations, pointing that her Ministry has been almost completely engaged with the transfer arrangements to the new international airport, Blaise Diagne, located around 50 kilometres from Dakar.

She proposed that the two ministries incorporate in the discussions other stake holders, such as the immigration, customs, and border management authorities, so as to expedite the agreement.

The Ministers agreed that the proposal should be presented, for high-level adoption by the two countries, during the upcoming roundtable discussion between Senegal and The Gambia in November or December of this year.

Meanwhile the two-country teams of experts should meet together and formulate the necessary texts, before the meeting.

Both on Thursday and Friday, 19 and 20 October 2017, the delegation had several meetings with the Secretary General of AGEROUTE Senegal, of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, together with the Technical Directors of the Ministry, and representatives of SYNOHYDRO Company of China, to discuss current plans on the road networks and bridges, needed to be coordinated and synchronized, given the co-located nature of the two countries.

The Senegalese team highlighted current agreements with SYNOHYDRO to design and construct road (N4) connecting Kaoloack and Zinguinchor through the Trans-Gambia Bridge, which is under construction.

This initiative necessarily has to have Gambia’s concurrence and participation to complement it with the roads within the Gambian territory. Also proposed by Senegal was construction of an additional bridge alongside the one under construction.

The Gambian team, on its part, highlighted Government’s desire to support ECOWAS initiative to construct the Dakar to Lagos corridor (Highway 7), which links the capitals of 11 countries in West Africa.

The government and the president of The Gambia place high priority to construct, within the country, the required link highways and a bridge along the Highway 7 axis, which will be at or close to the Banjul-Barra crossing. The Gambian road plan, in this respect, will complement the Senegalese road plan (N5).

The government of The Gambia has already been receiving proposals on the proposed bridge, which are under consideration.

Source: Picture: Hon. Minister of Aviation and Airport Management, Madame Maimouna Ndoye Seck, and Hon Bai Lamin Jobe, Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, in Dakar, Thursday 19 October 2017