By Kebba Jeffang
The European Union (EU), has pledged a financial support of 1.45 billion Euros to The Gambia, in the course of three years. This was disclosed at the ongoing donor conference in Brussels on Tuesday, May 22. The amount is more than The Gambia’s annual budget estimate of over 14 billion dalasi 2018. The event is meant to help the country in achieve its National Development Plan goals (NDP 2018-2021).
On Tuesday, the EU’s statement informed that a total of €1.45 billion will be mobilised by the International Conference for The Gambia. According to the statement, the reinforced political and financial support by the international community will assist the country in continuing its democratic transition by building stronger democratic institutions and respect for human rights and the rule of law, and sustainable and shared economic growth. The EU’s Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini, who co-chaired the conference together with President Adama Barrow, said they stood on the side of the freedom.
“The Gambia is showing to the world that freedom and democracy are about real people and real lives. After the presidential election in 2016, neighbours and the international community stood with the Gambian people. We stood on the side of freedom and democracy. Two years on, we continue to stand by your side,” he said.
Vice President Mogherini then disclosed: “Today the EU is proud to announce €140 million to invest in opportunities for the Gambian people and further strengthen democracy.”
The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, commended The Gambia for overturning a two-decade long dictatorship. He said the international community was left with no choice but to answer their call. “Out of the €1.45 billion that is pledged today, the EU has committed additional funding of €140 million until 2020, which adds to the €225 million mobilised since the beginning of the transition in 2017. Because nothing is more important today than showing to the people of The Gambia, that democracy brings quick and tangible dividends,” Mimica added.
Key outcomes of the conference
Reinforced political support to The Gambia: A joint communiqué by the co-chairs was issued, reaffirming support and solidarity in assisting the transition from dictatorship, to a fully-fledged democracy; that there should also be an increased financial assistance for development. The €1.45 billion pledged, will help cover needs identified for donor support to The Gambia’s National Development Plan. The International Conference for The Gambia will be followed by a Business Forum tomorrow, which will bring together interested European, regional and Gambian business representatives, for exchanges on sector-specific strategies and projects, during panel discussions on Energy & Infrastructure, Agricultural Value Chains and Tourism.
Following the end of the 22 years of authoritarian rule by former President Yahya Jammeh and the subsequent change of Government in January 2017, the EU and The Gambia have opened a new chapter in their relations. An intense political dialogue is ongoing at all levels and the EU is actively supporting the democratic transition in co-ordination with other international partners of The Gambia. Areas of co-operation include security, development for sustainable growth, transitional justice, economic partnership, trade, fisheries and migration.