• Short Summary


    INTRODUCTION: West African neighbours, Senegal and Gambia, will begin the new year united in a new confederation.

  • Description

    1. GV PAN View of Dakar and waterfront 0.13
    2. GV Ships in Dakar harbour 0.18
    3. SV Fishing boats leave harbour 0.23
    4. GV Modern apartment blocks in Dakar 0.29
    5. TV ZOOM INTO Building with signs in English and French, for Renault and Honda cars 0.39
    6. GV Market stalls and street traffic (2 shots) 0.50
    7. SV Crowds walking in streets, past shops with signs in French 0.57
    8. CU Sign for Mosque Road GV Mosques (4 shots) 1.11
    9. GV GAMBIA Ships in the harbour at Banjul 1.15
    10. SV People in cars 1.18
    11. SV Snack bar with words "Sene Gambie" on sign, in border road 1.23
    12. GV Nusrat High School 1.27
    13. TRAVEL SHOT THROUGH Banjul, showing shanty huts and houses 1.39
    14. SV Tank at Senegalese checkpoint PAN TO policeman as truck passes, loaded with sacks of groundnuts 1.46
    15. SV Senegalese soldiers at checkpoint 1.50
    16. GV People boarding ferry on Gambia River and ferry crossing (3 shots) 2.05
    17. GV Entrance to Toubacouta agricultural development 2.09
    18. SV Men working in vegetable fields (2 shots) 2.20
    19. SV PAN Water flowing down irrigation through; men collect water in cans; fish laid out to dry (4 shots) 2.46
    20. GV Village of Missira, with fishing boats and women repairing fishing nets; fish laid out to dry (4 shots) 3.06
    21. GV ZOOM TO Sacks of groundnuts near northern Gambian border 3.12
    22. GV Groundnuts laid out to dry; piles of groundnuts (3 shots) 3.21
    23. GV Waterfront in Dakar 3.30

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved


    INTRODUCTION: West African neighbours, Senegal and Gambia, will begin the new year united in a new confederation. Parliaments of both nations have unanimously approved the creation of Senegambia, beginning on January the 1st. The two countries are linked by a common language, Wolf, and their main export is groundnuts. Not surprisingly, a major difference is their colonial histories.

    SYNOPSIS: Dakar is the busy capital of French-speaking Senegal. The existence of two separate entities dates back to pre-colonial times, when the English and the French fought for control of the Gambia river valley, with the British eventually controlling the trading enclave, splitting French-controlled Senegal. The idea of a Senegambia confederation has been discussed since Senegal became independent from France in 1960.

    Gambia's existence as an independent country was questioned by a United Nations study commission shortly before it became independent from Britain in 1965. The commission recommend a political union of the two former colonies. The need for a secure relationship and stronger ties between Senegal and Gambia was illustrated in July when Senegalese soldiers entered Gambia to quell an armed uprising of left-wing rebels. Gambian President Sir Dawda Jawara was in the United Kingdom, attending the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Gambia invoked a mutual defence agreement in asking Senegal to send troops. It has no army of its own.

    In the part of Banjul, the Gambian capital, Senegalese customs officers have begun strict control measures. The port is said to be a free-smuggling outlet for imported goods which find their way to Senegal, avoiding all taxes. Banking sources said the freely-convertible CFA franc was now accepted in Banjul. Gambia is expected to abandon its national currency, backed by the British Treasury, and adopt the CFA franc.

    Senegalese President Abou Diouf, who'll command the joint army, plans to introduce training for a Gambian para-military force to be stationed in the tiny country.

    This ferry crosses the Gambia river from Senegal to Gambia. Greater ease of travel between the two countries will be among the benefits of unity. It is far easier to travel through Gambia by road than to skirt its borders.

    Since becoming independent, Gambia and Senegal have built up strong links in agriculture, economic development, law, education, and communications. The only distinct difference between the similar Moslem ethnic groups on both sides of the border is their colonial language legacies. The Gambians are primarily English-speaking and the Senegalese use French. Gambian President Jawara has called the confederation a unique event in modern African history. For President Diouf of Senegal, the confederation was the culmination of his first year in power, after taking over from President Leopold Sedar Senghor, the only African president to retire voluntarily.

    In the Gambian fishing village of Missira, life follows its ancient rhythms. There will be no referendum for the nations' people to approve the union, as each country will retain its original sovereignty. Gambia has a population of half-a-million, while Senegal has more than five million people. Analysts believe that Senegal will be the senior partner, being well ahead in population and development. Critics of the union in both countries say it was agreed with a speed that suggested President Jawara had limited room for negotiation. For the past 10 years, he had decline Senegal's invitation to unite.


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