By the beginning of 2017, Gambia’s economy was struggling with rising poverty level at 48%, unsustainable public debt at 120% to GDP ratio and rising unemployment.
Gambia’s information minister Demba Jawo said if the pledges made by the donors in Brussels came to fruition, it will in no small measure help the Gambia government to rejuvenate its “broken economy”.
President Adama Barrow has attended a donor meeting in Brussels on Tuesday where international partners pledged to support his development agenda with a tune of $1.7 billion.
President Barrow presented his three-year development plan for 2018-2021 to conference delegates from 43 countries and 10 international who stated their support to his development plan and democratic transition.
“These pledges are very significant… We inherited a broken economy and we need support for our development programmes. That is what makes this donor conference important to Gambia,” Jawo said.
When Barrow was taking over power in 2016, Gambia’s debt to GDP ratio was 120% but it is now 130%.
Though domestic borrowing has significantly decreased, his critics said he has no clear plan to place the country on path to successful recovery.
His opponents are also critical of his ministers who they said are frequently travelling, costing taxpayers huge sum that could have been invested on important national issues.
However, the Gambian leader flew to Brussels on a commercial flight, a move that Jawo said shows how serious they are in ensuring that they keep government expenditure within their means.
“Travelling of ministers is very necessary. When this government came to power, we were like a pariah state. So travelling to restore Gambia’s place in the international stage is not a waste. Besides, returns from these trips far outweigh the cost,” Jawo said.
“The president has seen an opportunity, a direct flight to Brussels and he took it… Many places he went, there is hardly any direct flight to such destinations. It will not be convenient for the president to board a flight and have several stops at various points.”