Gambian President Adama Barrow welcomed British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to Banjul Tuesday for the first such state visit by a senior UK government official in more than two decades.
Mr. Johnson and President Barrow used their talks to discuss fighting extremism and terrorism and how to support the growing tourism industry in Gambia.
Mr. Johnson also praised the impact of the election of Barrow as a “continuing strengthening of democracy in West Africa.”
President Adama Barrow highlighted shared values noting universal health care, freedom of expression and the diversity of both nations.
The majority of Gambian tourists are from Europe, especially the UK. Terrorist groups in the region have been targeting holidaymakers at beach resorts.
The UK flagged the Gambia for potential terrorism if the political crisis that was sparked by Jammeh continued.
At least two West African nations suffered terror attacks targeting tourists.
Tourism is the Gambia’s second biggest GDP sector and main foreign exchange earner. It was hard hit by the regional Ebola crisis although The Gambia had no cases.
It also came under threat after former President Yahya Jammeh took an aggressive stand against homosexuality and declared the small of nation of fewer than two million people an Islamic nation.
On March 13, 2016, three gunmen opened fire at a beach resort, Étoile du Sud hotel in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, killing at least 19 people and injuring 33 others; and on November 20, 2015, Islamist militants took 170 hostages and killed 20 of them in a mass shooting at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, the capital city of Mali.
It is no surprise that Britain has now pledged to military support the Gambia and ensure its citizens holidaying in the West African nation called ‘the smiling coast of Africa’ are safe.
President Barrow in late December before taking office met French President Francois Hollande in Maki and took part in the France-Africa Summit, which was focused on the security and regional fight against terrorism.