The Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment
(MoTIE), Hon. Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof on Monday travelled to Dakar
for trade talks with his Senegalese counterpart M. Abdou Karim Fofana,
the Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs, and Small and Medium
The discussion centered on issues of mutual interests and included transit
trade, the establishment of a tripartite cooperation framework, trade-in cashew and other agricultural produce, and the reactivation of the Joint Trade Committee meetings established under the Trade and Transit Cooperation Agreement signed between The Gambia and Senegal in 2020.
On Tuesday, M. Fofana received the Trade Minister, who was joined by
Mr. Mustapha Yarboe, Permanent Secretary, Office of the President;
senior officials of MoTIE; and the Chief Executive Officer of GIEPA at
his office at Diamniadio in Dakar, Senegal.
Speaking to the press after a closed door meeting, Hon. Joof thanked his
counterpart for the warm welcome accorded him and his delegation. He
described Senegal and The Gambia as one people that have a lot in
common, especially socially and culturally.
This strong relationship, he went on, is being manifested by President
Adama Barrow and President Macky Sall, who are not only friends but
also brothers. “They both demonstrated this special relationship by
working closely with each other in many areas to strengthen the brotherly
and friendly relationship between the two countries,” he stated.
Therefore, Minister Joof affirmed their role is to further cement this
strong and brotherly working relationship. “I believe that through
cooperation and frequent consultations between our two ministries, we
can achieve our common objectives of promoting trade between the two
countries,” he noted.
On Reactivation of the Joint Trade Committee meetings
Hon. Joof reminded his counterpart that MoTIE and the Ministry of
Commerce of Senegal signed a Trade and Transit Cooperation
Agreement in 2020 to facilitate trade and transit trade of goods through
the territories of both countries.
As part of the implementation modalities of the agreements, he disclosed,
a Joint Trade Committee, co-chaired by the Ministers of Trade of both
countries was established under the agreement. The objectives of the
committee, he explained, is to monitor and review the implementation
of the agreement and to discuss to address problems and bottlenecks that
affect trade and transit trade between the two countries.
Given that this is an important framework for strengthening bilateral trade
cooperation between both countries, Minister Joof requested the
reactivation of the Joint Committee and a regular meeting, as specified in
the agreement to discuss trade and transit issues.
He described transit trade as a key activity for both countries, and
therefore, it is imperative for them to have a platform where they can
discuss matters relating to transit trade.
The objective, he said, is to ensure that goods transiting through their
countries are facilitated for smooth passage in accordance with ECOWAS
Protocol and the international transit rules to enable easy access to third
ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS)
Minister Joof highlighted the challenges that ETLS-certified companies
faced in accessing the Senegambian market and requested collaboration
between the two ministries to facilitate the process. He therefore
underscored the importance of ensuring that information on ETLS
products are available at the border posts to ease the movement of goods
between the two countries.
Trade in Cashew and other Agricultural Produce
According to Hon. Joof, the transportation of agricultural produce such as
cashew, groundnuts, sesame, and other horticultural products sourced
within the sub-region needs some element of facilitation.
However, he said that given the proximity between The Gambia and
Senegal, the most cost-effective mode of transportation for these
commodities are by road transportation. Therefore, he said, the
Government of The Gambia solicits the cooperation of Senegal to help
address their concerns with regards to the measure taken on the
transportation of cashew sourced from Senegal.
Cooperation to establish a Tripartite Agreement
“These trade and transit issues we are discussing today are all
fundamental issues for The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau. His
Excellency, President Macky Sall has a strong brotherly and working
relationship with His Excellency President Adama Barrow and His
Excellency, President Umaru Embalo Sissoco,” Hon. Joof said. Hence, he
recommended that they leverage on this positive relationship to advance
the development of their economies and lift their populations out of
He expressed belief that this is achievable if they work together and
strengthen the relationship among The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea
Bissau, to promote the development of trade between the three countries.
In this context, Minister Joof proposed the establishment of a tripartite
cooperation framework among the three countries, noting that this
the framework would bring the three trade ministries together, to discuss,
share experiences and deepen trade relations for their mutual benefit and
to further deepen economic cooperation through trade.
For his part, Minister Fofana described Senegal and The Gambia as one
people that trade among themselves. Therefore, he said, it is good for
them to discuss pertinent issues that will benefit both countries and this
has been manifested by both President Macky Sall and President Adama
As ministers responsible for trade, he said, they should strengthen their
engagement to creating the enabling environment for the smooth flow of
trade and transit trade across their borders.
He assured his Gambian counterpart that they will work together with
their technicians to realize these objectives.
Both Ministers agreed to reactivate meetings of the Joint Technical
Committee to discuss these trade issues and address the challenges that
both countries are facing. They gave a month to the trade technicians of
the two countries to take stock of the challenges and make proposals for
The two Ministers also agreed that a tripartite trade framework for
Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau will cement the trade relations and
promote the development of trade among the three countries. They agreed
for the Trade Minister of Senegal to initiate the process.