Building the Friendship Bridges towards a Shared Future of China and The Gambia

Oct 13, 2021, 1:41 PM | Article By: H.E. Ma Jianchun Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia 

On October 9th, 2021, a grand inauguration ceremony was held for the China-Aid Project of 2 bridges and a highway in URR of The Gambia, with H.E. President Adama Barrow personally attending the ceremony and cutting the ribbon. This marks the completion of the eastern road connection project in the National Development Plan (2018-2021) of The Gambia, and the history of the people of URR having no bridge to cross the Gambia river has come to an end. As the Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia, on behalf of the government of the People’s Republic of China, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations!

The newly-built Road and Bridges Project includes 51 kilometers of asphalt road, extending from Basse to Koina through Fatoto, with a design-speed of 60 kilometers per hour. The project also includes two major bridges, namely the Basse Bridge and the Fatoto Bridge, with length of 250 meters and 170 meters respectively.

Construction work of the project commenced in December 2018 and was fully completed in September 2021.As Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia, I witnessed the whole construction process of the Road and Bridges Project and personally engaged in the trans-department steering committee. I am deeply impressed and excited by the Chinaspeed and efficiency, and the cordial spirit of China-Gambia collaboration. The successful completion and inauguration of this project fully demonstrates the high standards of China’s design, construction and management, and the immense potential of the China-Gambia cooperation.

On the joyous day of celebrating the completion of the project, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Gambian government, especially H.E. President Barrow, for the consistent and significant support to the project. With hard efforts and close cooperation of both Chinese and Gambian engineers and workers, we eventually accomplished connection of the “last mile” in national highway network of The Gambia, and ended the history that there is not even one bridge crossing over the Gambia River in URR. This project will tremendously promote free movement of people, cargo and service, and provide great impetus for post-pandemic economic recovery and social development of The Gambia and West Africa sub-region. We firmly believe that this project will lay a solid foundation for the future development of The Gambia and the China-Gambia relationship.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Over the past 72 years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the CPC united and led the Chinese people in achieving great success in socialist industrialization, and in implementing the reform and opening up through extraordinary efforts. These achievements are translated into the significant improvement of the Chinese people’s well-being. At the celebration of the CPC’s centenary, H.E. President Xi Jinping who is also the CPC Secretary-General, declared that we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.

Africa is China’s good friend and reliable partner. H.E. President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Africa should build an even closer community with a shared future. In cooperation with Africa, China will continue to follow the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, and join hands with African partners to step into a new era of win-win cooperation and common progress. The Chinese government is willing to support The Gambia’s development with our own development achievements, so as to realize mutually beneficial results and common prosperity.

Since 2016, the Chinese government has assisted The Gambia in implementing the project of building Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center, and implemented other large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Gambia National Broadband Network Project, and actively carried out multiple projects for people’s well-being such as the agricultural technical cooperation project, the dispatch of 4 batches of Chinese medical team to work in The Gambia, and a specially-selected team of Chinese pandemic control experts sent to The Gambia for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic together with the Gambian medical personnel. Over the past five years, the Chinese government has provided more than 5,000 tons of humanitarian emergency food aid to The Gambia, as well as more than ten batches of medical supplies. The Chinese government also attaches great importance to human resources development cooperation between the two countries. From 2017 to 2021, around 1,000 Gambians have been invited to China for training and studying to enhance their professional knowledge and skills. Today, the Chinese government has assisted The Gambia in completing the construction of two bridges and a highway. We believe that these are the bridges of friendship to assist The Gambia to achieve economic and social development; These are the roads towards the happy life to realize common development of the people of China and The Gambia. Let us join hands, and together step onto a broad way of common prosperity!

A new session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting will be held by the end of this year. China will take this important opportunity to coordinate with African partners including The Gambia in making a road-map for our future cooperation in various areas such as strengthening Africa’s public health governance, building capacity for Africa’s self-generated development, integrating Africa into the trend of economic globalization, and improving people’s well-being.

I believe that, with the joint efforts and support of President Xi and President Barrow, through the close cooperation between respective governments and excellent enterprises of our two countries, and with the great efforts of all of us, the practical cooperation in all areas between our two nations will go even further. We wish that The Gambia will see more improvement in infrastructure development, as well as further development in modern service industry, agriculture, manufacture, and so forth. I am fully confident that the Gambian people will step into a new era of greater prosperity.