By Mona Sutphen
Let there be no doubt that one of The Gambia’s biggest partners in development today is the European Union (EU).
EU has significantly contributed to the infrastructural development aspiration of The Gambia over the past 22 years, constructing most of the important roads that we Gambian are using. But who takes the credit? It’s the man who has been bullying EU, calling their monies chicken-change and yet he was claiming to have developed The Gambia to an extent that no one could have done.
Yesterday, the European Union ambassador said since the election of President Barrow in December last year, the EU has committed itself to considerably increase the flow of development assistance to The Gambia.
This was evident in the arrival in Banjul, in February 2017 of the EU commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica who pledged a staggering 225 Million Euros of development aid to The Gambia.
Early this year, EC committed to millions of Euros to youth development, creating a window of opportunity for the new relationship between the two partners.
When Neven Mimica came to The Gambian early this year, he said: “The peaceful democratic change in The Gambia is the result of the determination of the Gambian people, as well as the regional and international coordinated efforts of the Economic Community of West African States.”
He said that Gambians have shown commendable resolve, patience and courage during a period of high tension, assuring that the EU was fully committed to engage with President Barrow and his government.
He made it clear that EU wanted to be a privileged partner of The New Gambia. In addition to the €75 million package of immediate support on that day, the two partners were already preparing a medium term package of €150 million, which was going to focus on building the capacities of The Gambia and on job creation in particular.
Attila Lajos on Wednesday reiterated that during the visit of Commissioner Mimica, he pledged 225 Million Euros of development aid to The Gambia, and that this figure represented an overnight tripling of the usual development assistance to the country based on past activities.
Since his visit till now more than 155 Million Euros support has already been adopted and the remaining projects in the pipeline should be ready for the first half of 2018.
There are some of the reasons that EU can boast to be one of Gambia’s most important partners in the international field.
“Most good relationships are built on mutual trust and respect.”