The Newly built Basse Bridge named after Samba Juma

By: Foday Manneh

The new roads and bridges built and opened recently in the Upper River Region (URR) and the rebuilt Basse Market have boosted commercial activity in the area, including promoting trade and investment with neighboring countries.

This is according to members of the business community in Basse, who are optimistic that they are changing the business environment for the better in the region.

They say there is enhanced trade with the larger economies in the subregion, which have greater industrial and agricultural sectors.

Ariel View of Newly built Basse Market

One Kendo Ebogha, a businessman in Basse, says the cross-border trade is now efficient in the area.

“Before, people preferred traveling to Dubai to buy goods, but now some travel by land to Dakar and get their goods. Some even go to Banjul now, which is the same as going to Dubai,” he said.

Amadou Camara, a businessman selling clothing materials, said there is enhanced access to Banjul seaport, with reduced transport and shipping costs of goods.

“You can now travel easily and safely to other neighboring countries to buy your goods, and if you are short of money, your people can send you cash through a bank which is available everywhere.

“The business landscape in the region has changed. Consumers now easily come from all the villages in URR to shop in Basse, because everywhere is connected; unlike before when many will choose to go to Senegal to buy, especially those at the borders, or wait for Lumo days,” he added.

Roads and bridges make a crucial contribution to economic development and growth of a nation. These new roads and bridges also enhance easy access to healthcare facilities, educational services, employment, and other social benefits in the region at large.

This is according to Omar Drammeh, Public Relations Officer at the Basse Area Council, who in an interview said “this market with the new roads and bridges is having a huge impact on the people of URR, the Gambia, and even the people of the subregion.

“Basse is a hotspot to all these countries – Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, and even Benin – because most of their products come through Basse. Although there is no seaport here, there is a dry port that promotes cross-border trade.

“The local and central government do both benefits too because the local government collects revenue from the market duties, annual licenses and rental fees, while the traders are also paying taxes to Gambia Revenue Authority which is revenue for the central government.”

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