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Crossover potential: the Senegambia bridge is 942 metres long


which used to have a separatist conflict – is no longer as isolated from the rest of Senegal. It will have a big impact on tourism and trade in that region.” She adds that better roads are needed lead-


ing to and after crossing the bridge. Bridge users are also demanding an automatic toll to reduce the long queues tomanually pay the fee, which is around $5 for a car. “Themain beneficiaries of the project – esti-


mated at over 900,000 [people] – comprise mostly rural local communities, private enter- prises involved in the freight sector, govern- mental institutions and the ordinary popula- tion in the region who are expected to have improved access to reliable and affordable transport services,” says Marie Laure Akin- Olugbade, director for the west Africa region at the AfDB.“We are very proud that this bridge is not just a piece of infrastructure. It is a vital link between people, between communities, and between regions. Future generations will wonder how people could have lived so long without it.” The project aligns with the Gambia’s


National Development Plan spanning 2018 to 2021, which recognises high transport costs as amajor barrier to the development of the econ- omy’s productive sectors.


Effect ofCovid-19 Gambia was ranked 155 among 190 economies in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business


August/September 2020 www.fDiIntelligence.com


annual ratings 2020, a deterioration of six places on 2019 rankings. Transparency International ranked the country in 96th place out of 180 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index 2019. The economy expanded by 5.97% in 2019


but is forecast to rise by only 2.5%in2020 before recovering to 6.5% in 2021, according to the IMF, while Senegal expanded by 5.3% in 2019 and is forecast to grow by 3% in 2020 and by 5.5% in 2021. Covid-19 has had amajor adverse impact on


the Gambia. Tourism accounts for 20% of the country’s economy and provides a living for a fifth of the population, according to theWorld Economic Forum. FDI inflows into Gambia dropped to $32m in 2019 from $33m in 2018, according to Unctad, while total stock of FDI was estimated at $443m in 2019. Agro- processing activities and tourism attracted most investment, with main investors coming from India, Lebanon, Mauritania, China and the UK. The Gambia Investment and Export


Promotion Agency says the biggest opportuni- ties for foreign investment lie in agro-process- ing, information and communications technol- ogy and light manufacturing. The Senegambia bridge should play a vital


role in facilitating future trade in west Africa and helping to integrate the region – but its full potential will only be felt once the Covid-19 cri- sis passes.■


75 FACT FILE


THE SENEGAMBIA BRIDGE Length:


Cost:


942 metres $93.7m


Construction time: Seven years Toll:


~$5 per car


Senegal Gambia Banjul Guinea-Bissau


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