Farafenni bristling with activity ahead of landmark bridge launch

APA-Farafenni (By Kebba Ansu Manneh, The Gambia)

The Gambian border town of Farafenni is bristling with activities ahead of the official opening on Monday of a landmark bridge linking both halves of the country.

This boisterous town of some 30, 000 located 116km east of the capital Banjul, has witnessed large retinues of local and other dignitaries from Senegal and the wider West Africa region in anticipation of the bridge's inaguration by Gambian President Adama Barrow and his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall.  

Since Saturday evening, the hustle and bustle of the town has increased as cultural troupes assembled to give a musical footnote to the inauguration while residents worked to spruce up streets and surrounding areas. 

Farafenni offers an important route for overland access to both banks of the Gambia River by people in the region and beyond.

The lack of a physical infrastructure over the river in the past had provided serious challenges for the free flow of intra as well as interstate trading activities in the area.

Rickety ferries were relied entirely to ferry people, goods and services to both banks of the river, causing untold delays and other constraints to trade and other activities.  

Gambia and Senegal, as the main beneficiaries, believe that the advent of a landmark bridge across the waters will look to ease trade and other movements to other parts of West Africa.

The $93million Trans-Gambia Bridge, an idea mooted in the mid 1970s was mainly funded by the African Development Bank as part of its drive for greater economic integration in the region through its flagship Trans West Africa Corridor project.

The toll bridge which took four years to build over the River Gambia is 942 metres long and 17 meters or five storeys high.

Building and engineering works started in 2015 four years after Gambia officially signed an agreement to build the bridge on its territory. 

Both leaders will stress the need for greater collaboration and economic and social integration between countries in the sub region to harness the potential of trade and cultural exchanges amongst its diverse peoples.



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