China is among Senegal’s most important partners, Senegalese Ambassador to China Mamadou Ndiaye said, expressing his expectation that President Xi Jinping’s visit to his country will further strengthen the already “excellent” bilateral ties.
Cooperation between the two countries is diversified, covering sectors including infrastructure, energy, healthcare and education, Ndiaye told China Daily. China is assisting Senegal’s development by taking part in projects in the West African country, he said.
An example is the construction of a 115-kilometer highway from Thies to Touba. In 2015, China and Senegal signed an agreement providing financing for the project from the Export-Import Bank of China.
The highway, “the largest infrastructure project ever realized in Senegal”, is to be completed in December, and will link cities important for Senegal’s economic development, Ndiaye said.
“There are many projects in Senegal and other African countries that have been achieved thanks to China,” he said, adding that China is an important country contributing to Africa’s development.
For Ndiaye, China-Africa cooperation is “very practical” and “a win-win partnership”.
“When it comes to Africa, our populations are happy with this cooperation. ... They are satisfied with the quality of the cooperation,” he said.
One of his expectations, Ndiaye said, is for the cooperation to boost Africa’s interconnectivity, as 44 African countries, including Senegal, signed a landmark deal in March to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area.
More infrastructure such as highways and railways is needed to achieve the agreement’s goal of enhanced trade, and that’s an important area in which China can help, he said.
Also, he encouraged Chinese companies to invest in Africa to aid its industrialization.
Ndiaye expressed his country’s interest in joining the Belt and Road Initiative. “If we become part of the initiative, it’ll be very helpful for Senegal to realize interconnectivity with other countries,” he said.
Chinese investment, covering fisheries, agriculture and manufacturing, will “increase a lot” if Senegal becomes part of the initiative, he said.