Honourable Cabinet Members,
Honourable Members of the National Assembly, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Service Chiefs,
Senior Government Officials,
Governors, North Bank and Lower River Regions, District Chiefs, Alkalolu, Religious Leaders, Distinguish Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media,
After the memorable and historic inauguration of the grand Sene-Gambia Bridge, I am pleased to be here, once again, to lay the foundation stone for the second phase of the same Trans-Gambia Corridor Project.
Reflecting backwards, the key objectives of the construction of the Sene-Gambia Bridge were, principally, to eliminate the bottlenecks caused by the ferry crossing at Yelli-Tenda /Bamba Tenda, and to facilitate the free flow of traffic within the region.
As work on the bridge progressed, it became necessary to focus on the management of the expected increase in the volume of traffic that would be generated by the project.
It was obvious that the Trans-Gambia Highway would require strengthening for it to contain the projected increase in traffic.
In fact, in Senegal, the road links connected to this corridor, on the North and South borders, have already been upgraded in anticipation of the growth in traffic. We are gathered here, therefore, to set in motion Phase Two of the Trans-Gambia Corridor Project.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In order to confirm the need and magnitude of the works required to strengthen the Trans-Gambia Highway, the African Development Bank (AfDB) provided an additional grant of GMD 68.5 Million to carry out a Road Safety Audit and a Feasibility and Detailed Design Study for Phase Two of the initial project.
It will be recalled that the AfDB had earlier provided a grand of GMD 4.35 Million for the first phase.
On completion of the studies conducted, the European Union (EU), through an arrangement with the AfDB, also granted The Gambia Euro16 Million, which is equivalent to GMD 880 million, to finance the actual strengthening of the Highway. This is what constitutes the second phase of the project.
At this point, it is worth mentioning that, in 2012, the EU funded the rehabilitation of this Highway. In light of all these developments, I wish to put on record, our unreserved gratitude to the African Development Bank and the European Union for supporting the country in our endeavour to provide the needed infrastructure for our people and, indeed, for the sub-region.
Mr. Ambassador, please accept our most sincere thanks. We are indeed very grateful. You have transformed some of the most ardent aspirations of our people into the realities they are today.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The work to be undertaken in Phase Two of this landmark project includes pavement strengthening of the twenty-four (24) kilometres of the Trans-Gambia Highway.
It consists of both pavement overlay and rehabilitation works from the border in the South, at Misera, in the Lower River Region to Kerr Ali, in the North Bank Region.
The objective of the project is to facilitate overland traffic flow between the Northern and Southern parts of The Gambia and Senegal and, by extension, to enhance free movement within the West African region as a whole.
This corridor is a component of the Dakar-Gambia-Bissau-Conakry-Trans-West African Highway, which features on the ECOWAS programme of events. It is also part of the Trans-African Highway, Cairo-Dakar-Lagos.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The contract for this phase of the Project was signed on 15th September, 2020 with Arezki S.A. at a contract fee of EUR 9,751,973.02 for a contract period of eighteen (18) months. AIC Progetti/TSC Engineering and Construction have been engaged as Consultants at a contract sum of USD 1,082,000.00.
Let me explain further that, for the execution of this project, Arezki S.A., who constructed the Sene-Gambia Bridge and Tolling Facilities, was selected as Contractor after a rigorous tender process. AIC Progetti/TSC Engineering and Construction will supervise the works. We wish them good luck, and – successful delivery of the works as specified in their contracts.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This occasion follows a similar ceremony held recently. It affords me the opportunity, therefore, to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of various agencies and individuals towards the realisation of the project. Featuring prominently among them are the Ministries of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Finance and Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Gambians Abroad, the National Roads Authority, The Gambia Ports Authority and The Gambia Revenue Authority.
I thank the leadership and their staff profusely for their steadfastness in ensuring the delivery of the multiple contracts that comprise the overall Trans-Gambia Corridor Project.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It has now become abundantly clear that my government is squarely focussed on developing all parts of the country; from the East to the West, and on both the North and South banks.
My Government is determined in responding to the development needs of the Gambian citizens, and making sure that they derive maximum benefit and satisfaction from every public project and programme implemented.
We must continue to make sure that whenever we invest, we get value in return. The Sene-Gambia Bridge is serving its purpose.
In the past, the delays that travellers encountered at the ferry crossing point were quite frustrating. It is quite a huge relief that this is now a matter of the past; but, we must endeavour to make the bridge durable. Without this second phase of the project, it will not last as long as we may wish.
Ladies and gentlemen, we encourage the residents within the area to support the project, and cooperate amicably with the contractors.
Do not allow any person to obstruct their work or destroy what has been done already. This applies to all development projects within the country.
Whatever the Government does, is an undertaken on your behalf and for your welfare, comfort and progress. As such, take ownership of all Government activities, and help us to serve you better.
I thank you all for your presence. Your attendance demonstrates the love you have for your country, supporting my government and standing in solidarity for the development of the nation. We appreciate this keen sense of patriotism, and look forward to coming again, after the completion of this second phase project, for its inauguration.
Thank you for your attention.