World Bank Executive Directors reiterate support to The Gambia

BANJUL, May 9, 2018 – A delegation of World Bank Group Executive Directors visited The Gambia on May 6-9, to engage with the Government, development partners and non-government stakeholders. The visit occurred while the World Bank Group is finalizing the Country Engagement Note to support The Gambia’s efforts to build resilience for transitioning out of fragility, by restoring macro stability, building pathways for growth and improving service delivery.  

The nine-member delegation representing 92 countries and 30 percent of the institution’s voting power participated in a meeting chaired by Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, Acting President and Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia. Ten ministers attended the meeting, including Ministers in charge of the finance, agriculture, energy, information, water resources, education, health, tourism, interior, and environment portfolios. It was an opportunity to discuss key challenges facing The Gambia, including macroeconomic stability, human development, food self-sufficiency, ICT and information sharing, and gender equality, as well as the Government’s initiatives in these areas.

The delegation exchanged views with the Government on opportunities to promote inclusive growth through addressing key policy and infrastructure constraints, improving human capital and service delivery, strengthening financial markets, and developing value chain linkages between the tourism, agriculture, and transportation sectors. The meeting with energy sector stakeholders provided the delegation an opportunity to discuss the planned transformation of The Gambia’s energy sector through regional interconnectivity and investments in solar power generation, as well as through institutional reform of NAWEC (National Water and Electricity Company).

Acknowledging the role of civil society during The Gambia’s recent democratic transition, the delegation met with the representatives of such organizations to hear their perspectives on recent progress as well as remaining challenges and possible way forward. The Executive Directors also met with the private sector representatives to learn about The Gambia investment climate, challenges and business opportunities.

In the meeting with development partners, the delegation reiterated the World Bank Group’s commitment for close cooperation with the donor community, including through The Gambia International Conference planned for May 22, 2018 to mobilize external financial resources for financing the implementation of the country’s National Development Plan priorities.

The delegation visited the Tropingo Food, a mango processing factory supported through the IDA funded Commercial Agriculture and Value Chain project. The visit to the Port of Banjul, the main gateway for export/import trade for The Gambia, provided an overview of the Port’s operations as well as prospects for implementing a public-private partnership with IFC support.  The interaction with the health service providers and users at Kanifing National Hospital helped to better understand the state and needs of the country’s health sector.

“The new National Development Plan presents an ambitious program to transition the country out of fragility. and into an inclusive growth path. It will be important to carefully prioritize interventions and structural reforms to ensure quick results, address the most acute needs for rebuilding the social contract and consolidating the transition process, and to assure macroeconomic stability and sustainable growth of the economy in the medium and long term.  The World Bank Group is pleased to boost its partnership with The Gambia to support delivery of these priorities. We will convey the insights gained through the rich exchanges we had during the visit to WBG colleagues and stakeholders,” said Mr. Maximo TORERO – Executive Director for Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

The World Bank Group active portfolio for The Gambia comprises six national IDA investment operations totaling US$115.24 million, and three regional IDA operations representing US$51.5 million in commitments. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) commitments stand at US$5.7 million. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is committed to deepening its engagement in The Gambia. is actively seeking opportunities to support foreign private sector investment.

The World Bank Group Board members are collectively called the Executive Directors. The Board of Directors includes the President of the World Bank Group and 25 Executive Directors. Member countries of the World Bank Group appoint or elect Executive Directors to the Boards of the IBRD, IDA, IFC and MIGA. While the World Bank Group maintains four separate Boards, Executive Directorstypically serve on these Boards simultaneously.

 For more information, visit: http://www.worldbank.org/en/about/leadership/directors

The delegation of the Executive Directors includes: Mr. Seydou Bouda (representing Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal and Togo); Mr. Andrew Ndaamunhu Bvumbe (representing Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe); Mr. Werner Gruber (representing Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan); Dr. Patrizio Pagano(representing Albania, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, San Marino and Timor-Leste); Mr. Maximo Torero(representing or Argentina, Bolivia, Chile Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay ); Mr. Hervé de Villeroché(representing France); Ms. Peteranne Donaldson (alternate Executive director for Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and The Bahamas); Ms. Mastura Binti Abdul Karim (Alternate Executive Director representing Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, and Vietnam); Mr. Kenichi Nishikata (Alternate Executive Director for Japan).

U.S. Dept. of State Recognizes ‘Significant Positive Changes’ in Gambia’s Human Rights Climate

The United States Department of State has recently released its 2017 Human Rights Report, recognizing that The Gambia’s democratic transfer of power has resulted in “significant positive changes in the human rights climate.” 

The democratic transfer of power (in 2016) resulted in significant positive changes in the human rights climate.  Among President Barrow’s first acts was the release of 171 prisoners from the state central prison, a majority of whom were political prisoners.  National Assembly members repealed the state of emergency declared by former president Jammeh during the political impasse a few days after Jammeh flew into exile on January 21.  The new administration made several significant efforts to create a more conducive environment for freedom of expression.  The Justice Department conceded that the country’s sedition law and some provisions (pertaining to criminal defamation and false publication on the internet) of the country’s internet law were unconstitutional.  The country previously enacted legislation making both female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage illegal, although deep-seated cultural norms made the full eradication of these practices difficult. Several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies actively publicized the newly introduced laws in local communities.

Proceedings continued against nine former officials of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) charged with the torture of protesters arrested in May and April 2016 and the subsequent killing of Solo Sandeng, an official of the UDP party; as of November their trials were underway. The government took steps towards establishing a Truth, Reconciliation, and Repatriations Commission (TRRC), led by the Ministry of Justice, to probe human rights abuses that occurred during President Jammeh’s administration. The National Assembly unanimously passed a bill in December that formally established the nine-member TRRC and outlined its composition, objectives, and functions. Also in December, the National Assembly passed a bill establishing an independent National Human Rights Commission.

The most significant human rights issues included: harsh and potentially life threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrests; lack of accountability in cases involving violence against women, including rape and FGM/C; trafficking in persons; and child labor.

The government took steps to prosecute or punish some individuals who committed abuses.  Nevertheless, impunity and the lack of consistent enforcement remained problems.”

The full report, including The Gambia country narrative, can be found online at: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper

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