Ambassador: Brutal colonial history makes Senegambian integration hard


Speaking at the opening of the Great Senegambia Symposium at Paradise Suites Hotel over the weekend, Dodou Salla Diop, said: “The geographical and socio-cultural settings of Senegambia…will continue to shape our relations. Though colonialism had been solely perpetrated to pull us apart, we’ve made progress in our relations as a people. It’s important to recognise that increased integration between The Gambia and Senegal will only lead to greater socio-economic advancement of both countries. If healthy relations do not exist then development would be rendered meaningless even if Senegal and The Gambia are endowed with all the natural resources of the world. Even Macky Sall of Senegal has always said they [Senegal and The Gambia] are two countries in one.”

According to Ambassador Diop, an important objective of the Senegalese–Gambian Permanent Secretariat based in Dakar, is the promotion, integration and exploration of new frontiers of relations between the two countries. He said that the secretariat has placed premium on awareness creation to further strengthen and serve as a key ingredient of integration. 

Diop added: “There is a functional bilateral cooperation between the two countries which have been mutually beneficial. Even during the time of independence, leaders of Senegal and The Gambia have been very outspoken about unity and cooperation. The Senegalese–Gambian Permanent Secretariat is particularly interested in advocating for greater unity and cooperation between the people in order to achieve a win-win situation for all. We are highly aware of the challenges in our relations and the issue of proximity needs to be nurtured. This is important because history has taught us that proximity can also both be a cause and consequence of disunity. Many countries including North Korea and South Korea were once united before they went to war which eventually led to a brutal split. This is why it’s very important to nurture our relations through awareness creation especially in our children.”


The event which brought 70 Senegalese intellectuals, diplomats and students was organised by the Senegalese–Gambian Association for Integration and Socio-economic Development.


By Lamin Njie