Statehouse, Banjul, 11 December 2017 –As President Adama Barrow celebrates one year after his election victory of the 2016 Presidential election, countries around the world continued to present credentials of their Ambassadors. The Gambia’s diplomatic ties strengthened as four Ambassadors from South Korea, Switzerland, Namibia and Canada presented their letters of credence to President Barrow at State House, today. The Ambassadors are Mrs Hyo-Eun Kim of South Korea, Dr. Marion Weichelt Krupski of Switzerland, Mrs. Tswiwa Trudie Amulungu of Namibia and Mrs. Lise Filiatrualt of Canada.
The presentations would further strengthen the cooperation between The Gambia and these countries. President Barrow told the diplomats that his government advocates for peace and democracy, as well as encourages communication and dialogue between countries. He highlighted the government’s priorities in the areas of energy, tourism, modernised agriculture, health, and education in fulfilling the high expectations of Gambians.
The Gambian leader said the closer cooperation with the wider world is expected to yield support for the country’s National Development Plan. He urged the development partners to support the resource mobilisation conference scheduled to take place in early 2018, for the effective implementation of the national agenda for reforms in various sectors including the security, judiciary and civil service. Mr Barrow noted that an improved energy sector promotes investment, thus creating jobs, and building confidence of the youth to address the multi thronged dimension of migration with skilled labour force. Acknowledging The Gambia’s membership to the International Criminal Court – ICC, President Barrow described it as promoting the principles of democracy. He also stressed the importance of regional cooperation through South-South Cooperation and collaboration at the multilateral level. President Barrow used the opportunity to thank his colleagues through their Ambassadors for the support provided to his government and The Gambia at large.
South Korean Ambassador, Kim in presenting her letter of credence, stressed that South Korea and The Gambia share democratic values and are committed to promoting peace. She said the ties would be strengthened through bi-lateral cooperation through the Korean development agency and at the UN level to promote international peace. In the past, The Republic of Korea has been supportive of the Government’s development efforts through grants and short-term capacity development programmes in various fields under the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
In the New Gambia, the South Korean Government is also willing to support the Government of The Gambia’s peace building priorities, including setting up a transitional justice mechanism; economic development with a particular focus on job creation and security sector reform.
Accepting the credentials of the Swiss Ambassador, Dr. Krupski is expected to further cement the the cooperation with Switzerland in the areas of promoting democracy and justice, management of migration, and security sector reforms. Switzerland, though small in size, will be an added voice for Africa and The Gambia in supporting the ICC.
Namibian Ambassador, Mrs. Amulungu called for strengthening of cooperation amongst African countries and urged Africans to work together, learn and share experiences. She said Africa can no longer be holding onto the blame game but to consolidate their regional bodies. The Ambassador thanked the Gambia for hosting Namibians during their struggle for independence. Ambassador Amulungu cited that many of the students who were educated in the Gambia during those difficult times now serve in the public service in Namibia.
Ambassador Filiatrault’s tenure of office would enhance Canada‘s relationship with The Gambia to promote democracy, transparency and good governance. She said the two countries share common values and Canada has been supportive to promote democracy, the education sector and other engagements in the security sector to promote peace and gender issues. Its willingness to support the government of The Gambia in the areas of reconciliation and women empowerment as shared values of the two governments.
Strengthening diplomatic ties provides expertise and opportunities in various areas of development in a coordinated manner with various development partners.