Gambia: Foreign Minister Dr. Tangara, Japanese Ambassador Arai Hold Talks to Boost Bilateral Relations

BANJUL, 9 June 2021: The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, on 7 June 2021 held telephone talks with the Ambassador of Japan to The Gambia, His Excellency ARAI Tatsuo.

Discussions between Minister Tangara and Ambassador ARAI were meant to move forward the already cordial bilateral relations between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Tangara said The Gambia and Japan had long standing traditional friendship dating back 1965, which is the cornerstone for bilateral relations. Since the advent of the current administration, bilateral relations have not only expanded but deepened in all areas, most notably in economic and political relations as well as people -to- people exchange. Minister Tangara said the prospect of bilateral relations between the two countries would only get better as development strategies are in tandem.

The Honourable Minister pointed out that The Gambia is ready to further work with Japan by coming up with new contents in the bilateral relations that would further spur The Gambia and Japan to forge mutual understanding and mutual support. Minister Tangara observed that Japan's friendship and support to The Gambia has always been consistent with a number of Japanese projects being executed in the country. This could be referenced to the recent donation of 50 tractors that was handed-over to His Excellency President Adama Barrow on Monday 7 June 2021.

Japan made a donation of 3,800 tons of rice, approximately 2 million dollars of food support to the Government of The Gambia during severe droughts that the country suffered in the 2017-2018 farming season. In February 2019, Japan signed a contract for the construction of a Medical Clinic in Brikama.

For his part, The Ambassador of Japan to The Gambia, H.E. ARAI Tatsuo assured that cooperation between the two countries would continue. He said Tokyo would dispatch an Expert in Agriculture to The Gambia to help conduct a comprehensive study of the agriculture sector with a view to helping enhance the country's food self-sufficiency drive. The Ambassador assured that the 2021 Japanese food assistance would soon be delivered. Support, he said, would continue in the areas of education, health and provision of clean drinking water for the underprivileged rural dwellers.

It could be recalled that the last batch of Japanese food assistance was delivered in November 2020, worth one hundred and twenty - five million dalasis (D125M). Japan has been one of the biggest Official Development Assistance (ODA) donors to The Gambia, with a total of approximately 76 million dalasis. The annual ODA is allocated in order to improve livelihoods of rural people with the provision of water supply, food aid and support to economic activities by improving the basis of the agricultural and fisheries sectors. These interventions had a positive impact on the economic development of the country and also improved living standards of communities across The Gambia.

Issued by the Communication Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad

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