The Gambia is the smallest State of mainland Africa and one of the priority countries for French development assistance. It is faced with heavy public debt and must catch up in terms of infrastructure and services. AFD is accompanying the country on its way to economic stabilization, democratic transition, and food security.
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Banjul, capital of The Gambia
AFD and the Gambia: Furthering Political Stabilization and Growth
Banjul, capital of The Gambia

Contributing to Economic Stabilization

Serrekunda, Gambie, market

Contributing to Economic Stabilization

Following 22 years of autocratic rule that brought the country close to bankruptcy, The Gambia remains a fragile country that must deal with considerable weaknesses in terms of development, infrastructure, and social services.

In conjunction with the IMF, the new Gambian authorities have adopted a reform agenda in a bid to stabilize the country’s economy, restore people’s trust in government, and strengthen democratic institutions. The country’s rising growth rate suggests that economic recovery is on the right path. However, the heavy public deficit leaves little room to implement the 2018-2021 national development plan adopted in February 2018. And the weight of the public debt continues to threaten the country’s macro-economic stability.

AFD is supporting the reform process via budget support of €5 million, granted in 2018. The aim of this support is to ensure a transition towards a new IMF program, notably by helping to launch audits of public enterprises. It also offers technical assistance to prepare the government for future negotiations with the main creditors of the external debt, while ensuring the continuing coverage of priority health expenditures.

Increasing Food Self-Sufficiency

riz moissonné, agriculture, Bangladesh

Increasing Food Self-Sufficiency

Nutrition and food security represent a major challenge for The Gambia’s development: agricultural production covers less than half of the country’s consumption needs, and 73.9% of the rural population lives under the poverty line. Per capita annual consumption of white rice—the basic foodstuff—is 117 kg, yet only 17% of this amount is produced locally.

In order to improve food security and increase rice production, AFD is supporting a small-scale irrigation project in the eastern part of the country (Upper River Region). This project also seeks to enhance gradual expansion of a model of agriculture that is more entrepreneurial, which increases the involvement of women and young people.

Improving Access to Drinking Water

robinet, eau potable, Guyane

Improving Access to Drinking Water

The Gambia’s robust demographic growth and rapid urbanization have led to severe water stress and shortages in the major cities, especially in the capital, Banjul.

Access to drinking water faces a number of challenges: increasing demand, lack of infrastructure, low revenues generated by the sector, and the the lack of structuring in the urban water supply sub-sector. As a result, access to drinking water is a major social, economic, and political issue in the capital and in The Gambia as a whole.

Given this context and its experience in the urban waterworks sector in West Africa, AFD is focusing its aid on the drinking-water sector in the Banjul region. Its objectives are to improve access to drinking water and the quality of service at The Gambia’s National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), restore financial equilibrium to the sector, and support NAWEC in development planning for water and sanitation in the Banjul region.

The Gambia becomes a priority country for French development assistance.
million euros committed in 2019

At 11.300 km², The Gambia is the smallest State of mainland Africa. Stretching along both sides of the Gambia River, the country is surrounded by Senegal, except for its Atlantic coastline in the West. It is a low-income country ranked 173rd (out of 188) in the Human Development Index. It has a population of 2 million, 48% of whom live below the poverty line.

In 2016, The Gambia underwent its first democratic transition, following 22 years of an authoritarian regime. The new government inherited a critical economic situation, with a country deeply in debt and severely behind in infrastructure and public services. Faced with a recession and strong inflation, the authorities must simultaneously deal with the public debt and relaunch the country’s development.

The declared ambition of the new national development plan adopted in 2018 is to establish good governance, social cohesion, and national reconciliation that can facilitate a revitalized and transformed economy.

Since 2018, when The Gambia was named as a priority country for French development assistance, AFD can see new prospects for action. Its objective is to contribute to the country’s economic stabilization, growth, and sustainable development.

AFD's Gambia office is directly attached to the Greater Sahel regional office in Ouagadougou.

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