Gambia in Railways, Infrastructural Deals with China

….Enters Chinese Belt and Road Initiatives

Gambian leader, Adama Barrow inherited a nation on her knees. His task to revive his country is very much focused on infrastructural revival, hence his recent trip to China. It was a rewarding trip as Chinese railway chief not only offer extensive opportunities but also a deal was sealed under the supervision of Presidents of both Gambia and China.

The Chairman of the Chinese Railway Construction Company (CRCC) Mr Chen Fenjian told President Barrow The Gambia could tap into the opportunities provided by the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to build roads and bridges in the country. To confirm his love for railway in Gambia, the President visited the premises of the Chinese Railway Construction Company (CRCC) in Beijing, where he was shown an exhibition of the company’s various projects in construction, and investments in industries.

He was also exposed to the specific infrastructural projects of the company in Africa, particularly construction of roads, bridges and railways. While appreciating what he described as a genuine partnership between The Gambia and China, President Barrow said the two countries would focus on energy, railways and road construction as priorities. He assured chairperson Fenjian of the political will of his government to continue to collaborate with CRCC.

Speaking earlier, Chairman Chen Fenjian, introduced his company and gave a trajectory of projects carried out during its fifty years’ existence. “Since the re-connection of Chinese ties with The Gambia, CRCC has reached out to The Gambia, signed an MoU and completed preliminary study on Mandinary-Abuko road. We have also signed an MoU with the Ministry of Energy” he said.

Mr. Fenjian said his company would follow the spirit of President Jinping’s statement and pledged to work with The Gambia. He added that the China -Gambia relations is at a strategic point and gave assurance of his commitment to working with financiers to realise some of the eight major initiatives stated in the China-Africa cooperation, in particular, to contribute to Gambia-China cooperation.
Meanwhile,The Gambia and China has signed three cooperation agreements on the “Belt and Road” Project for infrastructural development, cooperation, culture among other things. According to Gambian presidency, the agreements which were signed as part of Adama Barrow’s China trip, revolved around technical cooperation and culture geared towards enhancing, modernization of agriculture, built capacity through professional training and higher education for Gambians.

Gambian Foreign Minister, Muhammadu Tangara and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, as Foreign Minister and the State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China, led the signing ceremony. Their Excellencies, President Adama Barrow, witnessed the ceremony and President Xi Jinping at a bilateral meeting held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two leaders discussed various areas of cooperation since the renewal of diplomatic ties, which has been centered on mutual benefit and respect, between Beijing and Banjul last year. While expressing gratitude for the support provided to his government, President Adama Barrow urged President Xi to strengthen support in the areas of energy, agriculture and infrastructure development.

“The priority of my government is to make electricity affordable and accessible; expansion of the sea port of Banjul, road networks,railways mechanisation of agriculture, amongst others,” the Gambian President explained, noting the need to encourage private sector participation.

The Gambian leader also emphasized the need for modernisation of agriculture and the use of technology to add value to rice production and create jobs for women and youth as well as ensure food security.

President Jinping, on his part, praised the growing relationship between China and The Gambia and thanked The Gambian President for supporting the One China policy at the global level. He gave assurances that China would work with The Gambia in its priority areas to develop agriculture through modernization, expansion of the infrastructure, build capacity through higher education.

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