Gambia and China have agreed on closer cooperation as President Adama Barrow makes his first visit to the Asian nation, a year after resuming relations.
China is looking to heavily invest in the country targeting agricultural technology, fishery processing, infrastructure development and tourism.
But President Barrow said he wants a win-win situation, signing several deals mostly to improve the country’s economic situation and infrastructure.
China’s President Xi Jinping personally invited Barrow for a state visit to enhance mutual political trust and expand cooperation.
President Jinping held a ceremony and banquet for Barrow, and they held talks amid the signing of cooperation documents. Barrow also met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang.
China is building a new highway in The Gambia, has forgiven Gambia’s debt and commenced the constructions of a $50 million international conference center, ahead of a summit of world Muslim leaders.
But some Gambians are wary of China’s investment in the country and doubt if the deals will be a win-win situation as Mr. Barrow wants for the people.
“China will consider Gambia’s national conditions and characteristics and give full play to the complementarity of our two countries,” said Li Keqiang, Speaker of China’s Parliament, who met with Barrow in Beijing.
China and Gambia resumed bilateral relations in March 2016 after ties had been severed for some 20 years. Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh chose Taiwan over Beijing for the most part of his 22-year rule.
Barrow defeated Jammeh in last year’s election and used his maiden address to the UN to uphold the one-china policy. Barrow closed all doors for Taiwan to attempt talking Banjul into ditching Beijing for Taipei.
Although The Gambia has returned to a foreign policy of non-alignment, China is seeking to have the Gambia’s support on several international matters, including the South China Sea dispute.