5 August 2014

Gambia-Mauritania Relations

editorial

It was good news hearing the president reveal his attendance of the inauguration of the new Mauritanian president was a success and the two sister countries will soon start implementation of agreements. We know for a fact that the relationship between these two countries and the factors that unite the two countries are far greater than the geographical distance that separates them.

History reveals 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, went through the bondage of imperialism. Its people were suppressed and oppressed. The two countries accommodate a substantial number of ethnic groups, among them the Wollofs and the Fulas

The two peoples also intermarried. Trade, has always been ongoing between Gambia and Mauritania. Almost all Mauritanians resident in this country are engaged in one kind 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 economic growth of The Gambia.

In 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 benefited from trainings in Mauritania.

Significantly, if Africa's unification through established regional bodies is attainable as it is proving to be, we might as well give it a 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, so be it. Perhaps it will accelerate the continental unification process. We tend to underestimate the strength of collaboration between African countries, but there is greater potential in it than the inconveniences of our relationships with the Western world. Among ourselves there is a lot at stake.

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