Oct 9, 2009, 3:29 AM
Construction of the 942-meter long bridge will be completed within 36 months or three years, and the project which was funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) is set to promote and enhance the movement of people, goods and services between The Gambia and Senegal, and within ECOWAS.
The construction of the bridge is also set to open up trade between the Gambia, Senegal and the rest of the world, as well as improve the current account of the financial economy and the balance of payments.
Held at the Ministry of Works and Construction in Kanifing, the signing ceremony was attended by government officials of both countries, project contractors and other representatives.
The contract was awarded to two companies, JV Corsan Corvian of Spain and Arezki S. A. of Senegal, which have promised to complete and deliver a qualitative work within the agreed timeframe.
Speaking on behalf President Yahya Jammeh, Minister of Works, Transport, Construction and Infrastructure, Ousman Badjie, thanked the President and his office for the sustained guidance and advice, while wishing the contractors all the best in the implementation and accomplishment of the project.
The construction of the trans-Gambia bridge, Minister Badjie said, has served as a significant event in the history of the two countries, while thanking AfDB and others for the partnership.
He also said the project is the single biggest project ever implemented by the Gambia government.
“The long-term aspiration of the Gambia government is to achieve a solid infrastructural base for industrial development,” Minister Badjie said.
“The availability of the infrastructure services significantly influences services between regions and nations. The physical connectivity through cross bordering for structural development is crucial and enhances regional co-operation.”
ECOWAS had encouraged its member states to go into projects that would enhance sub-regional integration, thereby facilitating movement of people and their goods, he said, adding that the construction of the bridge would go a long way in reducing travel time between the southern part of Senegal and the rest of the country.
He commended his predecessor, Minister Bala Garba Jahumpa, for his contribution to national development, as well as appreciated the various efforts put in to realize the project by different stakeholders.
The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Lamin Camara, commended AfDB for partnering with The Gambia.
He also urged contractors to ensure the procurement services are conducted properly.
Senegalese Ambassador to the Gambia Doudou Salla Diop said the day was significant in the history of Senegambia development.
Senegal and The Gambia are two nations of the same people, he said, adding that the sister countries’ heads of state have always maintained a cordial relationship between both countries.
The project consultant and deputy regional director Studio International, Carlos Arevalo, as well as the project contractor Arezki Darek of JV Corsancorvian Arezki Company, thanked President Jammeh and Gambia government for awarding them the contract, which they described as a good opportunity for them to contribute to the infrastructural and economic development of Gambia and Senegal.