EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Gambia has developed a new National Development Plan from 2018 to 2021. The four-year development plan discusses the position of the country in regards to its pick from the slow-growth and underdevelopment in the past 22 years.
In the context of the plan, The Gambia is at the cusp of a historic transition brought on by a groundbreaking development on 2nd December 2016, when the Gambian people voted out of office the former President Yahya Jammeh who ruled the country for 22 years.
During Mr. Jammeh’s rule, Gambia’s governance landscape was characterized by a system of arbitrary one-person rule, which subjugated the population to gross human rights violations, terror and serious abuses of office. Similarly, on the security front, the armed services did not play their part in upholding the constitution and defending the sovereign will of Gambians. Consequently, government with the support of partners (United Nations, European Union and Economic Community of West African States) has embarked upon a security
Sector reform aimed at bringing the security services under full democratic civilian control.
The plan discusses addressing of the country’s nagging financial distress with an unsustainable public debt of 48 million dalasi ($ US 1 million) or 25 percent of the GDP. It also targets the address the acute electricity crises that arise from the inability of the sector to meet domestic demand or for economic activities.
Along the line, it will also address agriculture, tourism, trade, education, healthcare, women empowerment and youth.
Through the plan, it is expected that Government will act decisively to address poverty, particularly rural poverty, and close the growing gap in access to basic services between the predominantly urban western part of the country, and the rural poor predominantly found in the east of the country.
Government said in the plan that it is committed to serious economic reforms since the historic transition to democracy which opens up many possibilities that could spur growth and restore the country’s economic stability. “Since assuming office, government has taken many significant measures: There is a marked reduction in domestic borrowing. This is already bringing down the prime interest rate; from 23 percent before the elections in December 2016, to 18 per cent in June 2017.”
The Government’s vision for the “new Gambia” is “a country that upholds the highest standard of governance, accountability and transparency; where social cohesion and harmony prevails among communities; citizens enjoy a standard of living and access to basic services to enable them to lead descent and dignified lives; youth, women, children realize their full potential, and a nurturing and caring environment exists for the vulnerable; there is an enabling environment for our private sector to thrive; and our natural heritage is nurtured and preserved for future generations”.
The government’s goal is to “deliver good governance and accountability, social cohesion, and national reconciliation and a revitalized and transformed economy for the wellbeing of all Gambians”.