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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