By Ndey Sowe
The French Development Agency (AFD) has yesterday disbursed a grant of 5 million euro’s to the government of the Gambia, as budget support for the macroeconomic stabilization of the Gambia economy.
In a program held at the ministry of finance and economic affairs, the representative of (AFD), Mrs. Laurence Hart, and the ambassador of France to Senegal and the Gambia, Mr. Christophe Bigot, reminded the Gambia government of its pledge of supporting the National Development Plan with 50 million Euros.
“The financing agreement signed today between AFD and the government of the Gambia is the first follow-up on the pledge made at the Brussels conference,” said the Ambassador of France to the Gambia, Mr. Christophe Bigot.
Bigot said, further to the 2017 democratic transition in the Gambia, the Government of France has expressed its willingness to work toward the renovation of its diplomatic and economic relations with the country. It was agreed to support the implementation of the national development plan with 50 million Euros to be disbursed over 2018 to 2021.
“The purpose of this first operation is to support the Gambian authorities in the implementation of their stability- oriented macroeconomic policy, it will both seek to facilitate the transition towards a new program with the IMF and alleviate the government’s financing gap by safeguarding specific social expenditures”, said Mambury Njie, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs.
Mr Njie said the program’s specific objectives are three- fold; support the negotiations with external creditors to restore debt sustainability; support the specific audit of critical SOEs and; ensure that specific health expenditures voted in the 2018 budget are committed and spent before the end of the budget year.
“In short term, it is up to 25 million Euros programs that will be implemented, in addition to budget support, in the areas of agriculture to increase food sufficiency, and access to water in urban area to supports sustainable public services development”, said minister Njie said.
AFD is France’s inclusive public development bank. It commits financing and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries and in the France overseas territories, officials said.