In an ever increasing globalised world marred by uncertainty and countless threats, relations between Senegal and The Gambia are at an opportune moment in coming to define what diplomacy and International Relations should look like across border lines. After twenty-two years of stalemate, evidently, change has come to the Gambia; and in President Barrow, Macky Sall has found an incredible ally to work with in rebuilding that trust and neighbourliness thereby promoting peace in the region and worldwide. And as technology brings people and remote regions of the world ever closer together, rational world leaders have come to realise that the solutions to modern security challenges and economic pressures are largely transnational which requires collaboration with other countries near and far. Engaging in a unifying tone, the long-overdue idea of Senegambia diplomacy should be formulated and unleashed as a tool of Foreign Policy at the supranational levels of politics. For starters, topology has ensured that the two countries are geographically combined, the people are practically the same in terms of culture, food, language as enunciated by historical factors, bar colonial experience sic. As of this day and forward, Dakar and Banjul should design and align ethical Foreign policy in a Two-States-Single-Foreign-Agenda in their dealings with the rest of the world.
As globalisation takes hold, cooperation and alliance amongst states is no longer a matter of choice, but an absolute-vital-necessity for nation-states. In recent decades, however, developing countries particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa have seen an explosion in population growth with a younger population demanding jobs and economic uplift from their governments. To effectively address those needs countries are vying for trade and business linkages with their counterparts, attracting Foreign Direct Investment inflows into their territories; but also collaborating on security concerns in tackling the complexities of our time. The alternative is worst as exemplified in the case of such hermit states as North Korea living dangerously given a century of endless possibilities. After World War Two, the success of Europe in a “Shared-Prosperity” formula has come to define and showcase that urgency as sustained peace and economic explosion through close regional collaboration ushered in prosperous lifestyles for citizens across the European peninsula. Perhaps West Africa could learn a thing or two from this. Ideally, The Gambia and Senegal could offer a start, in softening such inter-linkages via Senegambia politico-economic and monetary collaboration.
On the diplomatic front, the old adage is that there is strength in alliances and Senegambia diplomacy could soon be a force to be reckon with across the International Political landscape. The multidimensional and complexities of issues facing nation states can no longer be solved in solitary, rather requires multilateral solutions and partnerships, and alliances to confront those challenges. Security issues such as tackling cyber threats, terror, money laundering have now become transnational. Given sovereignty, states are no longer unitary entities. Even Trade and economic policies are now addressed in a bilateral and multilateral fashion. In confronting regional security challenges facing countries within the ECOWAS bloc, Senegambia ties & diplomacy could offer solutions otherwise untested. Reputation andTrust are the key ingredients for a successful diplomacy assignment and both countries exhibit those traits in vast quantities within the periphery. No other country, however powerful and/or wealthy could influence politics in Guinea Bissau as Senegal and the Gambia – not just because of a close border line, but the mere fact that, that country is made-up of people from the two. Through ECOWAS backing, such a double-pronged diplomatic effort could be offered in neighbouring Mali, and elsewhere in Africa under the shadows of AU.
Moving forward, Africa needs a Permanent seat at the UN Security Council with Veto Powers. And as conflict-expectations brew amongst the nuclear powered world Setters, a closer-regional-merger is thus encouraged as a tool of mitigation. Nowhere is that idea fitting & conditions ripe for an economic and political union than the sister republics of Senegal and The Gambia. The social ties and inter-people relationships have never left despite decades old political squabbling by various unethical leadership anchoring the two. Truth be told Senegal & The Gambia not just share a common border, our destinies and perhaps luck are inherently interlinked. Anyone in doubt ought to look no further, but the enduring Cassamance crisis yet to be resolved largely due to vested interest & systematic brinkmanship on a dictators part funding & funnelling separatist rebels playing hardball with Dakar. Even attracting Chinese investments to the region requires collaboration in maximising gains for a uniformed and sustainable strategic development. And with democracy and entrepreneurship taking hold within the region, Banjul and Dakar could double the sizes of their economic output ushering in high-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced – and in the process building a rising ‘Middle Class’ as the engine of that growth.
Gibril Saine, LONDON