2 May 2013

Gambia-Mauritania Ties

editorial

We wish to commend The Gambia- Mauritania Joint Ministerial Task force that just wrapped-up a forum to explore the bilateral ties between the two countries. A close scrutiny of the relationship between the two countries would reveal that the factors that unite them as one nation are far greater than the geographical distance that separates them. History has it that Gambian legend, Kunta Kinteh's grandfather was a Mauritanian. Apart from this single historical fact, the two countries are bound by a number of factors; religious as well as ethnic. The Africanness we boast of is strongly tied to issues of geography and ethnicity. And these are attributes that bind these two West African nations together.

Historically, Mauritania, like The Gambia, experienced the bondage of imperialism. The two countries accommodate a substantial number of ethnic groups, among them the Wollofs and the Fullahs. The two peoples have also inter-married over the years. Trade, even if it is informal, is and has always been in existence between Gambia and Mauritania. Almost all Mauritanians resident in this country are engaged in one form of business or the other; this serves as a reliable source of foreign exchange for their families back in Mauritania. And in a way this contributes to the Gambia economy. In the area of education, apart from the home-based Gambian Islamic scholars that benefit from the very important Mauritanian Islamic institution located in Bundung, many more Gambians have over the years benefitted from training in Islamic studies, especially in the teaching field, in Mauritania.

If Africa's unification is to be realised, we should try, by establishing country-to-country links. As a matter of fact, this whole concept of unification seeks to facilitate the livelihood of the citizens of Africa. So, if we can achieve that goal by forging links with countries that are ready for it, we should embrace it. Perhaps it will accelerate the continental unification process. We tend to underestimate the strength of collaborations between African countries, but there is greater potential in it than we can imagine. Among ourselves there is a lot at stake.

The Joint Ministerial Task force of the two countries indeed has the potential to create more opportunities for greater collaboration and unity between the two countries. Author: Daily Observer

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