The opening ceremony of the Foundiougne Bridge in Senegal was held on March 26. Senegalese President Macky Sall and Chinese Ambassador to Senegal Xiao Han attended the event.
The bridge was built with the aid of a concessionary loan from the Chinese government.
Sall said that the completion of several infrastructure projects constructed by China under the Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE) framework such as the Foundiougne Bridge is an important achievement of the Belt and Road Initiative and a concrete manifestation of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Senegal. He asked Xiao to convey his sincere gratitude to the Chinese leadership and people, adding that Senegal is willing to work with China to further cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, and other areas.
The Foundiougne Bridge is a bridge of hope and friendship, Xiao said. It is a key project of the PSE and a major project of the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which will greatly promote the development of local agriculture, industry, and tourism, as well as the social and economic development of Senegal.
The bridge's construction has offered job opportunities and training courses to over 8,000 local residents. The Chinese construction company continued with construction work and guaranteed the commissioning on schedule against the COVID-19 pandemic. This bridge is not only over the Saloum River, but also exists in the hearts of the Senegalese and Chinese people, he said.
Xiao said that China has attached great importance to cooperation with Senegal in infrastructure, and worked closely with the country in terms of financing, construction, and operation. The Eighth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC was held in Dakar, Senegal in 2021. Among the nine programs China proposed at the meeting, infrastructure was one of the priorities.
China will continue to work with Senegal to enhance cooperation and innovation, and guarantee the sustainable development of infrastructure cooperation. Xiao stressed that faced with the anti-globalization trend in the world, China, as the largest developing country, and Senegal, as the rotating chair of the Africa Union, are duty-bound to work together to advocate the common human values of cooperation, openness and inclusiveness.
The Foundiougne Bridge is located in the Senegalese city of Foundiougne, with a designed length of 1,600 meters. The bridge is expected to greatly facilitate the travel of residents on both sides of the river and completely solve the long-standing risks brought by ferrying. It is an important hub connecting the north and the south of Senegal, and the longest bridge in the country and in the Economic Community of West African States.