The EU mobilises support for Gambia’s development plan
On 22 May 2018, the European Union and Gambia co-chaired an international conference in Brussels to strengthen international, political and financial support for the country, following its peaceful transition of power in January 2017. Delegations from 43 countries and 10 international organisations participated in the event. The Gambian government presented its National Development Plan (2018-2021), adopted in January 2018, which sets out eight strategic priorities: governance, economic growth, agriculture & fisheries modernisation, investing in people, infrastructure & energy services, tourism, youth and the private sector. In a joint communiqué, the government of Gambia and the EU reaffirmed their “support and solidarity in assisting the transition from a dictatorship to a fully-fledged democracy.” The total amount of pledges is EUR 1.45 billion, for the next 3 years of which the EU is contributing an additional EUR 140 million more than the EUR 225 million that had already been committed. President Barrow presented a financing package to development partners that showed EUR 1.6 billion out of the EUR 2.4 billion total estimate. The rest will be sourced from the government’s progressive fiscal measures. This means that Gambia’s development plan is almost fully funded. The international conference was followed by a business forum, which brought together European, regional and Gambian business representatives. Gambia has a population of some two million people and is West Africa’s second smallest country after Cabo Verde.