Friday, September 13, 2002

Senegal keen to tap Malaysia’s expertise

PUTRAJAYA: Senegal is seeking Malaysia’s co-operation and support in the development of its proposed new administrative capital and an airport.
Dakar also wants Kuala Lumpur to increase imports from the western African country that is now mainly confined to cotton, one of its major agricultural products.
These were some of the matters discussed during a restricted meeting between visiting Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad and a subsequent 30-minute delegation meeting headed by both leaders at the prime minister’s office here yesterday.

TALKS ... Abdoulaye and Dr Mahathir arriving at the Prime Minister's Department for a meeting between them and later a delegation meeting at Putrajaya Thursday. -- Bernama
Briefing reporters after the meetings, Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Dr Leo Michael Toyad said that Malaysia was willing to offer its expertise to help Senegal construct the administrative capital.
“They have designers and architects but want to consult us to avoid making any mistakes. They have been hearing about the successful Putrajaya project and want us to co-operate in terms of giving them advice and other areas,” he said.
On trade, Dr Toyad said Malaysia would look for new items to import from Senegal, adding that the increasing trade volume between the two countries was in Malaysia’s favour.
Total bilateral trade stood at RM9.51mil last year while the figure for 2000 was RM6.74mil. He said that some Malaysian companies were looking at Senegal’s garment and textile industry.
Dr Toyad said that there was also an agreement involving Malaysia’s Port Klang and the Port Authority of Dakar to further promote the growth of the Dakar port.
He said that Dr Mahathir explained at length about how Malaysia went about transforming itself from a commodity-driven country to become an industrialised nation.
As a sign of Senegal’s intention to forge closer ties with Malaysia, Dr Toyad said that it opened an embassy here last July. Malaysia opened its mission in Senegal in 1992.
On another matter, Dr Toyad said the prime minister formally invited Abdoulaye to attend the Summit of Non-Aligned Movement in February and the Organisation of Islamic Conference in October next year, both of which will be hosted by Malaysia. The president ends his three-day visit to Malaysia today. —Bernama