By: Kebba AF Touray
The Governor of The Central Bank of The Gambia Bakary Jammeh has called for agricultural transformation in the country, in order to have high, sustained, inclusive and long term growth, to generate income for the country. Jammeh disclosed this on Friday August 31st at the Central Bank Conference hall, during the Monetary Policy Committee meeting. In a question and answer session with journalists, Jammeh responded to a question on the impact of the poor cropping season on the economic growth of the Gambia in 2019 and said if agriculture does badly, it results into a decline in the growth of the country’s economy; that it is critical to transform the agric. sector, because it feeds the nation and provides employment for the majority of the country’s citizens especially the youth; that transforming the sector, would require its total reform ranging from farmlands, to technology and the building of local capacity.
Jammeh said the fact that recovery is gaining momentum, shows the resilience of the country’s economy; that growth has increased from 0.4 percent in 2017, to 4.5 percent, which is significantly higher than the sub-Saharan average of 2.8 percent, due largely to the performance of Tourism, Financial and Insurance services.
He decried that if agriculture had grown even by 1 percent last year, growth would have been above 5 percent and this according to him, shows how the economy is recovering within this short period.
On the monetary side, Jammeh said International reserve is around four months of import cover and will allow the country to cruise against the external stocks; that four months of import cover, would enable the country to withstand for a period of four months.
“Reforms and public finances management are ongoing at the fiscal front. Overall, resilience of the economy is improving, and vulnerabilities have been reduced significantly. Next year, we are expecting a growth of nothing less than 5 percent, due mainly to the ongoing massive construction, trade, improvement of financial services and international reserves,” Jammeh said; that economic uncertainties are emanating principally from the external front, in the areas of oil prices and massive global trade, which impacts greatly on global economic outlook and growth.
Jammeh said Central Bank has already completed the redesigned and approved new currency, and is at the stage of printing; that the new Gambian Dalasi is expected in the first quarter of 2019.
“As we introduce the new one, the soiled notes will be removed gradually from the economy, till they entirely disappear and currently the Bank has printed the 2012 Family of Notes that does not have the former President’s head, and is being circulated. The stock for the 100 and 50 dalasi notes with the head of the former President, is exhausted and are being replaced with those that do not have it. The currency has already been redesigned from 5 to 200 dalasi, with new features that represent us,” Jammeh concludes.