By Kebba Jeffang
Following his six-day working visit to the People’s Republic of China, President Adama Barrow has secured an agreement of aid to construct roads, bridges and other communication infrastructures in the country, a news release from the President’s Office in State House, stated on December 27th. The visit was also meant to strengthen bilateral relations between The Gambia and China.
“The two countries have signed bilateral cooperation to support The Gambia in the areas of investment and trade, communication infrastructure, roads and bridges in the Upper River Region of the The Gambia, concessional loans and human resource development through knowledge transfer and training,” the statement stated.
President Barrow who arrived in the country with his delegation of Ministers and senior civil servants, was hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping who also presided over the signing ceremony by the foreign Ministers of the two countries, as well as the Chinese Commerce Minister and the Gambian Ambassador to China, H.E. Faye Ceesay, respectively, was held at the Great Peoples’ Hall in Beijing.
“The China 2017 state visit detailed specific practical outcomes to support The Gambia in its human resource in agriculture, education and tourism. In the area of infrastructure development, the Chinese Government is committed to invest over 75 million US dollars for the construction of the Basse-Koina road, bridges at Fatoto-Passamance and Basse-Wuli crossings in the Upper River Region of The Gambia. The agreement also included the development of the national internet broadband, as well as promote The Gambia as a destination for Chinese tourists and investors,” the statement added.
The outcomes of the meeting included strengthening ties with exemption of visa for diplomatic and service passport holders and to enhance cooperation at both international and regional levels, the statement indicated. “It was also agreed to increase and promote people to people exchange programmes with civil society and NGOs in various sectors.’’
During the visit President Barrow and delegation met and interacted with the Prime Minister of China, H.E Li Keqiang, Chairman of the China National People’s Congress, H.E Zhang Dejiang, other government officials in Beijing. He was honoured with a state banquet hosted by President Xi Jinping. President Barrow visited the Forbidden City and laid a wreath in memory of fallen heroes in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.