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Gambia-China Ties: Economist Wants Relationship to be Revisited

Chinese President, Xi Jing Ping and Gambia President Adama Barrow(L-R)

Gambian economist, Nyang Njie, has urged the government to revisit the trading relationship with the People’s Republic of China by being stronger in negotiations in order to accord the country a swift economic progress while not putting the environment at too much risk. 

In an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, Njie indicated that China is an economic superpower whose partnership with The Gambia should be mutually beneficial if the right deals are negotiated.

The interview came on the heels of the second edition of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, held last week where President Xi Jing Ping emphasized the need for an expansion of bilateral relationships for the stable growth of the world economy.

The CIIE was initiated in 2017 by the Chinese government to annually welcome government officials, business communities, exhibitors and professional purchasers across the world to explore the Chinese market. It also provides new channels for countries and regions to do business, strengthen cooperation and promote common prosperity of the world economy and trade.

 “In life one does not get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. The Gambia should be strong enough to negotiate good deals with China,” Njie said.

Njie opined that good deals can give the country some meaningful development projects such as good roads, proper infrastructure and things that will not put the country’s environment in danger.

The Chinese fish meal processing plant is accused of disposing toxic waste into the sea killing fish and polluting the environment.@torchongambia

Recently, there was some fracas between the people of Gunjur and the Golden Lead factory, a Chinese fish-mill company over the wasteful catches as well as disposal of rotten fish in the sea. Njie believes that Gambia should take advantage of the relationship as a raw material provider to China and demand for wiser deals. 

“China lacks many materials especially raw materials which they get in many countries including The Gambia. If you look at the timber which we have here, they would buy and process it as finished furniture. These are coming back to The Gambia and many other countries and we are buying again. I think the interest China has with the world is that they are looking for business, but equally looking for raw materials.”

“Countries like The Gambia are giving them fish and what is needed to be known is what China needs from us doesn’t have environmental implications. I think they need to revisit the relationship and ensure that what they are getting is not just finance, but also they are not destroying the very environment that we live in,” Njie told The Chronicle. 

Explaining the Chinese business strategy, Njie described the Asian country, with a population of 1.4 billion, as an industrial country that wants to export Chinese products and services to the world. In doing this, he said China would pick up loans and finance concessions and give it to their private companies for implementations. 

The Gambia OIC Conference Hall

“If you look at the Gambia International Conference Center, even though it’s a grant, they gave the job to a Chinese company. So basically, they are helping to promote their own companies to have work outside China or to be supplying goods and services to the world.” 

Nyang Njie

However, Njie prefers for Gambia to be dealing more with China than the Western world as far as business is concerned considering project developmental activities they do including the construction of the countrys’ International Conference Center, roads and bridges. 

“We should be going with China because they are no longer an emerging economic superpower, but an economic superpower. The Gambia needs to take advantage of that relationship with China. Definitely, I think they are a good partner to Africa in general, not only The Gambia,” he told The Chronicle. 

On Tuesday, Chinese President, Xi Jing Ping, said among all the problems confronting the world economy, none can be resolved by a single country alone.

“We must all put the common good of humanity first rather than place one’s own interests above the common interest of all. We must have a more open mindset and take more open steps and work together to make the pie of the global market even bigger,” he said at the opening of CIIE. 

He called for the need to strengthen the mechanisms for sharing benefits globally and explore new ways of international cooperation. According to him, the goal is to give more impetus to economic globalization and remove impediments. 

11/14/2019
The original publication incorrectly stated that Nyang Njie served as Director of Budget, it has since been corrected.
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