#Article (Archive)

The border closure: our economies are at stake

May 9, 2016, 11:13 AM

The border impasse between The Gambia and Senegal is causing serious harm to the two sister nations and the sub-region by the day and the month as the people and economies of both nations are gravely affected.

In general the border closure has seriously affected business in the two nations, particularly hitting hard on people directly surviving on cross border and transit trade.

Whilst the cross border trade is affected, businesses run by Senegalese, Gambians and other nationals across the borders of the two nations are seriously hampered, our economies are also starved of much-needed revenue and the people’s livelihood is thwarted.

So many commercial trucks transiting through neighbouring countries including The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Mauritania and others are stuck.

And while business transactions are hindered, the economies of these countries are also deprived of revenues from such activities as the Inter-State Road Transit trade (ISRT) in the region.

Every month our economies are losing millions of Dalasis and CFA. This does not yield any good growth or development for the two nations.

The two heads of state should really consider the people, who are mainly hit hard by the economic woes this situation is causing, and try to meet, even in a neutral ground, so as to speak frankly and resolve the matter for the good of both peoples and the sub-region.

Even though the ECOWAS Commission has sent a fact-finding mission to both nations and authorities to find a solution to the problem, we have not seen any end in sight of the impasse.

We would like to ask again: What is really making things so difficult for both parties to mend their differences on the border closure that cannot be sorted out?

Our authorities should bear in mind that our countries are part of ECOWAS, which guarantees free movement of persons and goods in the region. And there are several other protocols including the Inter-State Road Transit (ISRT) that have been set out to facilitate and grow trade among member countries and their economies. These should be respected and made to work well for our nations.

The disagreement emanating from the seemingly border transit charges must be resolved as we are sister nations and are one people tied by blood relations, religion, culture, and common membership of regional and international organisations such as OMVG, ECOWAS, AU, and the UN.

We should, therefore, be strong enough to shun acts of discord and work towards the development of both countries and Africa.

The masses of the people of both countries need a peaceful solution to this lingering issue of frequent border closure between our nations.

“The Gambia and Senegal are one; let’s resolve our differences over the border closure impasse”

The Point