The Gambia is the smallest country within mainland Africa. It is a low-income country but its economy had been growing until the COVID-19 pandemic which led massive job losses due to the shut-down of the tourism sector. A National Export Strategy (2021-2025) outlines key priority areas, such as agribusiness, fashion, tourism, and fisheries for The Gambia to boost its exports. The country’s demographic growth remains among the highest in the world and 1 out 4 people is considered food insecure, especially among children under five.
The Gambia voted for democratic change in December 2016, and the European Union and its Member States have invested extensively in the country's democratic transition to help propel the process forward. This engagement will be maintained, nurtured, and strategically targeted in the period 2021-2027.
The EU's cooperation with The Gambia for the period 2021-2027, will focus on three main areas:
Promoting Good Governance
Our continual support of the democratic transition processes that are ongoing in The Gambia, the transitional justice process and the capacities of the judiciary are essential for the country. The Security Sector Reform and the strategic policies framing this process were adopted at the end of 2020 and concrete steps are being taken. This is a long-term process and we will continue to support it. Among the security bodies, special attention will be given to strengthening services in charge of migration and border management, as well as police and navy capacities in countering migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and all relevant forms of trafficking and organised crime, and in addressing maritime security overall.
Green economy for sustainable growth and jobs
We will focus on cross-sectoral activities, identified in The Gambia’s Climate Change Priority Action Plan 2012-2015. Our aim is to contribute to the mainstreaming of climate change into the national development process, including climate change adaptation and disaster management in sectoral policies such as agriculture and natural resources, forest and fisheries. Moreover, we will support The Gambia’s climate policy framework.
Amongst our main goals for The Gambia’s future is human development within the framework of post-pandemic recovery to reinforce the social fabric and reduce inequalities. Education interventions will be instrumental in empowering the youth, women, and girls, increasing the ratio of female teachers, upgrading the curriculum and better integrating topics such as gender, environment and climate change, science and technology, migration, nutrition and information technologies.
Improved education can ultimately allow more Gambians to benefit from circular migration and academic mobility programmes toward the EU.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for The Gambia for 2021-2024 amounts to €119 million.
Priority area 1: ‘Promoting Good Governance Specific Objective’ aims to enhance democracy, rule of law, and the respect for human rights in The Gambia while building trust in the country’s security apparatus and increasing its alignment with the population’s national security needs.
Priority area 2: ‘Green economy for sustainable growth and jobs’ will focus on supporting a green and socially inclusive urban mobility, linking to the rural areas of the country so the sustainable development of local agro-food systems can be more effective in order to increase the competitiveness, inclusiveness, and sustainability of the tourism sector.
Priority area 3: ‘Human development’ aims to reduce gender disparities in enrolment, progression, and retention at all levels of education and lifelong learning for women, men, girls, and boys, in all of their diversity, and support inclusive job creation for all.
Finally, steps are being taken to ensure the population in the Greater Banjul Area has access to proper sanitation services and commences waste processing to improve water and air quality.
Team Europe Initiatives and Flagships
The MIP builds on the following Team Europe Initiatives (TEIs):
- Good Governance, focusing on constitutional reform and elections, transitional justice, and security sector reform. This TEI also aims to enhance the migration partnership with The Gambia as well as the support to Public Financial Management (PFM) reform agenda.
- Green Gambia, centred on green economy, environment and climate change as well as biodiversity. This TEI targets mobility, sanitation and waste management in urban areas, the improvement of food systems in alignment with the EU “Farm to Fork” strategy, and the development of a sustainable and inclusive tourism model.
The main flagship programme is the Youth Empowerment (YEP)/Tekki Fii programme, that is ‘re-vibrating” the economy, supporting the private sector and generating thousands of jobs, especially for young people and returning migrants.