A poetic message from the Ambassador of Senegal Professor Cheikh Ahmadou Dieng following on from his country’s independence day celebrations
ON 4 APRILthis year, we celebrated the 58th anniversary of Senegalindependence, a ‘young’ country struggling for its development, political stability, the rule of law and an unwavering commitment to the international multilateral system and its foreign partnerships.
These tasks are not easy to achieve in a changing world and a challenging international environment threatened by issues such as climate change, international terrorism and uncontrolled migration and resource scarcity, among others. But Senegal can address those challenges with active solidarity and mutually beneficial cooperation with our friends and partners. That is what Senegal has recommended and is what we are working on.
This year also marks 56 years of our presence in the United Kingdom, where Senegal was one the first African francophone countries to accredit an Ambassador. That was in 1962, only two years after our independence. This is active proof that Senegal has always perceived the UK to be a special partner due to its contribution to world history, its role in many international issues and the many opportunities given by its internal system in terms of economy, trade, investment and training.
From the start of our bilateral relationship, cooperation has taken place at a political level to set out a good framework. But, while this meant that Senegal has benefitted from the opportunities offered by the UK, there have also been barriers related to history, language and culture that created difficult, deeper and wider ties.
In the context of today, when the headlines are mostly dominated by Brexit issues, I urge the UK and Senegal to deepen their cooperation. We understand that there will be a need for the UK to develop new partnerships after Brexit, and Senegal is open to doing business with you.
In this respect, I am happy to report that a revival of bilateral cooperation between Senegal and the UK has taken place due to BP’s presence and participation in the exploitation and development of gas recently discovered in Senegal. BP is helping build a big industry, the aim of which is to create an oil and gas value chain, providing Senegal with the capacity to train its engineers and technicians, to export oil and gas products and develop other related sectors.
That is a good occasion to renew, on behalf of my government and the high Senegalese Authorities, our deep and sincere thanks to BP and to the team dealing with Senegal and Mauritania, the two protagonists sharing the same offshore project.
I must also express my gratitude to BP as the main sponsor of our Independence Day reception. In the same vein, I would like to thank growing money transfer company WorldRemit, and the Senegal/UK Chamber of Commerce for their support.
This Chamber has recently been created to help boost trade and investment flows between Senegal and the UK. It connects the Senegalese and British private sectors, providing many opportunities to do business in:
•the food processing industry;
•arts, crafts and textiles;
•building and public works, and
•oil and gas.
These opportunities offered by Senegal demonstrate that it is worth working on mainstream trade and investment, making them a major focus for our bilateral cooperation.
The UK, the birthplace and heart of global financial services and a big consumer market, can also be a great destination for Senegal’s export products. With regards to this economic environment and Brexit prospects, African francophone countries like Senegal are open for trade with the UK. Like the UK, there is a ‘Global Senegal;’ open to the world and ready to connect with businesses from various countries like Britain.
This anniversary is also an occasion to get together members of the Senegalese Community that has been growing throughout the years. With over 3,000 Senegalese expatriates in the UK, this country is becoming a major destination for my countrymen and women. This is another reason to build closer relations between the two countries.
To make their integration easier, I invite Senegalese people to keep on complying with the British rules as they have always been doing. The Embassy will continue to support and assist them with the help and the collaboration of the British authorities.
We encourage the Senegalese to learn about and adapt to the laws of the land because “the character of a nation cannot be understood apart from the country and the climate in which it lives” (Walter Rauschenbusch, Christianity and the Social Gospel). That is why, well aware of the past and the present of this great nation,
“This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-Paradise;
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war;
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,” (William Shakespeare, King Richard II, Act II, Scene 1)
is welcome for a hand-in-hand stroll on the path of progress and cooperation with Senegal, land of courage and dignity blessed with a high sense of greatness, where lions roar, birds sing and nature blossoms.
Senegal and the UK striding together, striding together towards peace, justice, progress and more development for a better world.