Abdoulie G. Dibba
Economic operators at the Bamba Tenda-Yeli Tenda ferry crossing have applauded the recent re-opening of the Senoba-Soma and Kerr Ali-Kerr Ayip borders, describing it as a ‘life revival development’ following its closure for more than three months.
The vendors expressed these heartening remarks on Sunday 29 May 2016 during a visit by this reporter to the area.
Amadou Jallow, a trader at the said crossing point, said the resurgence of business activities in the wake of the border reopening is keeping all of them busy now in selling goods to travellers who are in transit to Senegal.
“You can see the place teeming with people who are travelling to Senegal either through the Kerr Ayip or Senoba borders and these are the customers who buy from us,” he told this reporter.
He added that this is what they have missed in the last three months when the borders were closed to vehicular traffic to and from Senegal.
“Some traders were on the verge of closing down their shops permanently if the blockade continued as there were very few customers using ferry crossing and these were mostly Gambians. As for me I closed my shop for two months,” said Jallow.
He appealed for this state of affairs to prevail at all times that would allow traders to have customers patronising their businesses.
“The Gambian and Senegalese authorities owe it to the people of the two countries to ensure that the situations which led to the closure of the border are avoided at all cost and addressed in the interest of their populations,” he said.
The others, including vendors and travellers, who spoke to this reporter, have reiterated their appreciation of the development and urged the authorities to ensure that there is no recurrence of this undesirable situation in future. They all noted the devastation brought to the informal trade, small businesses and livelihoods of people that depend on the free movement of people and goods for their survival.