Bissau-Guinean Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embaló met on Friday with Gambia’s President Adama Barrow in Banjul. He is the first head of government from the region to visit Mr. Barrow after he took over power.
Mr. Barrow and Mr. Embaló pledged to strengthen relations and cooperation between the two West African nations, one of the smallest in mainland Africa.
Gambian and Bissau-Guinean business have had good relations, especially with the buying of goods and the exportation of cashew nuts. Goods worth millions of dollars are being exported out of The Gambia to Bissau annually and the two leaders seek to pursue agreements to foster such cooperations.
Bissau and Banjul had longstanding relations and under former President Yahya Jammeh, the relations generated mixed reactions.
While Jammeh was applauded for playing a key role in ending some of Guinea-Bissau’s many military and political crisis, he was also implicated in the drug trade scandal that made Bissau a transit hub.
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony is known for national parks and wildlife. The forested, sparsely populated Bijagós archipelago is a protected biosphere reserve. Its main island, Bubaque, forms part of the Orango Islands National Park, a habitat for saltwater hippos.
Guinea-Bissau and Gambia share a lot of history. The two nations were once part of the kingdom of Gabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire.
Former President Yahya Jammeh, who Mr. Barrow defeated in the elections in December, tried to influence Bissau’s foreign policy. He became a donor to the country but was unsuccessful in his bid.
Guinea-Bissau follows a nonaligned foreign policy and seeks friendly and cooperative relations with a wide variety of states and organizations, which the Gambia also seeks to return to.