Representatives of foreign governments continue to present their letters of credence to His Excellency the President. The latest diplomats include His Excellency Mansyur Pangeran from Indonesia and His Excellency Paul Lehmann of Australia.
The Indonesian Ambassador told reporters that his country and The Gambia established diplomatic relations way back in 1982, noting that the two countries so far have some projects already operational between them in the area of agriculture, education and trade.
“Recently, in March we had a training programme [in Jenoi] during which we trained some Gambians and West African farmers and this would continue because we would have some farmers trained in Indonesia for a period of two weeks and in the future we are going to revitalise the Jenoi Training Centre. So this is becoming a regional centre here in The Gambia at the Jenoi Training Centre,” he said.
He added that, already, a delegation of Indonesian officials comprising representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Works, and Agriculture and representatives from the Association of Indonesian Farmers are visiting The Gambia to further strengthen collaboration between Jakarta and Banjul.
“We are not in the agriculture [sector] only but also in the education sector, because we are going to provide scholarships for Gambians to study in Indonesia. Already we have some Gambian students who are doing various degrees progammes [in Indonesia]. We are also going to encourage cooperation in the trade sector; this will pave the way for much Indonesian business community to come to The Gambia and for the Gambian business community to also go to Indonesia,” he said.
According to him, in October there would be an Indonesian Trade Expo as well as a business meeting in Banjul to encourage the Gambian business community in that Expo.
Also speaking to reporters at the Presidency, the new Australian Ambassador Paul Lehmann said his country and The Gambia have always enjoyed warm and cooperative relations, adding that the people of the two countries have always had steady and strong relations.
“There is nothing I have to announce dramatic today other than to reinforce those already strong ties and to look towards the future where we can build upon that solid foundation and to look at where the strengths are and to continue to build upon them. So it’s a great honour and privilege to be here to meet the President and the government and the people of The Gambia and to look at ways we can further develop cooperation,” he concluded.
by Musa Ndow