Nature has condemned Senegal and The Gambia to live together. So is the view of a certain analyst. This is why the two countries have enjoyed a special relationship ever since. In fact, the two peoples – Senegalese and Gambians – have so much in common that it is difficult to differentiate them.
It is in the interest of everyone for the two governments to maintain a sincere and cordial relationship for the good of their people. This relationship should go beyond the political leadership and filter down to the security personnel as one cannot do without the other.
Knowing the world is embroiled in a lot of strife from jihadists, drug dealers and even timber smugglers, it is necessary for the security services of the two nations to work together amicably as our borders are porous. The fight against terrorism and crime should therefore make the two security services work together.
In the area of commerce and business activities the citizens of these two countries are already so inter-connected that they work together very well and only require the governments to make trade between the two countries smoother, that is, in terms of transportation, documentation and taxation.
In the past few years, the transport between the two countries has witnessed some difficulties as the transport unions have sought to restrict each other to an extent of unions blockading the border so that vehicles from the other country will not enter. The customs officers in Senegal also apply too much pressure on traders seeking to enter that country sometimes and this is hindering the commercial activities of many.
The Gambia and Senegal should open up to each other in the areas of commerce and trade as that will be excellent for both their economies. If this happens, a lot of the misunderstandings that take place will be avoided and everyone will win.
Whether one likes it or not, Senegal and The Gambia are interconnected and therefore interdependent. This must always be kept in view so as to make good use of the relationship and foster development. This can easily be done using the Senegambia Secretariat which has the potential of doing an excellent job in cementing the already existing ties between the two nations and peoples.
In the recent past, it has been seen how progress has been made in the areas in which the two countries have cooperated and worked together to produce excellent results. The Senegambia Bridge is a good example. In the energy sector also the cooperation between the two energy suppliers has yielded benefits. These gains should be replicated in other areas as well for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.
The fact that the people of The Gambia and Senegal are related – through blood and marriage ties – and that they virtually speak the same languages should be harnessed to make the bilateral ties stronger. This should be seen in all aspects of human activities.
A visit to any market in The Gambia will reveal how many Senegalese are living here in peace and harmony. This is the same in any market one visits in Senegal. Gambians in their thousands also live freely in Senegal. The two peoples should indeed be there for each other and strengthen the bond.