The youth wing of the United Democratic Party will like to thank the world bank for coming to the aid of the Gambian people through their 31 million dollars cash transfer project for rural households. This couldn’t have come at a better time for The Gambia considering the poverty and suffering our people go through on a daily bases.
According to the WHO, The Gambia is ranked 174 out of 189 in the 2019 human development index. Despite a change of government in 2016, levels of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition have remained unchanged or have worsened in the last ten years. The Gambia’s poverty rate remains at 48 percent, while food insecurity has risen from 5 to 8 percent over the past five years as a result of weak food production systems and the effects of successive shocks.
While we are happy and glad that rural Gambia has benefited from such a great project and hope to see more of it, urban Gambia especially areas of west coast region continue to need great attention and support in terms of poverty alleviation and food security. These can be linked to the high movement of people from the rural areas moving to the urban centres in search of opportunities and the lack of development in their hometowns and villages. Thus, making urban centres overpopulated and resources scares and limited causing huge margins of poverty.
As grateful as we are for the help, we cannot continue this state of affairs where our basic needs are fulfilled only through help from donor parties. We have enough resources and capacity to be self sufficient in food production and a UDP government will invest heavily in agriculture to reverse this trend.
Adequate investment in agriculture will have the twin effects of ensuring food security and creating employment avenues for the youth to remain in their communities while being gainfully employed either in direct production or processing of agricultural produce through the value chain that will be created in collaboration with private sector entities.
The Gambia cannot continue on this path of perpetual begging for the most basic of human needs, any serious government would know that and adequately address it.
On a final note, we once again thank the world bank and all institutions in this great project as we hope it will play a significant part in helping to tackle poverty.
National Youth Secretary General