Restoring good governance, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and empowering citizens through decentralization and local governance
Restoring good governance, rebuilding, and restoring public confidence in key institutions, upholding human rights and strengthening access to justice, in the context of transitional justice are urgent priorities in the NDP. In this regard, government aims to enhance and improve human rights, access to justice and good governance for all. To this end, government will review and adopt a new constitution; amend repressive laws; strengthen the independence and autonomy of the judiciary; indigenize the judiciary; leverage on ICT to improve and speed up justice delivery; and strengthen the office of the Ombudsman, Alternate Dispute Resolution Secretariat (ADRS) in aid of greater access to justice delivery. Human Rights will be improved using the transitional justice mechanism, the Truth and Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, and by establishing a National Human Rights Commission, as well as an Anti-Corruption Commission. Other interventions will strengthen the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA), the National Agency Against Trafficking In Persons (NAATIP), the National Assembly, the Independent Elections Commission (IEC), and the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) to execute their mandates in order to attain the objective of the strategic priority on the restoration of governance.
Decentralization is key to strengthening local governance and ensuring accountability, as well as the effective delivery of services to citizens. Under the plan, government will review and update the decentralization and local government act, in order to strengthen its implementation; other policies and regulatory frameworks will be harmonized for enhanced coordination of the decentralization programme; the revenue base of Councils will be expanded and Standardized Financial Management and Accounting Systems will support the decentralization process.
Stabilizing our economy, stimulating growth, and transforming the economy
Years of poor economic governance and misuse of state resources has left the Gambian economy in a perilous state. Under the plan, government will undertake major reforms in a bid to enhance macroeconomic management for sustainable and inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. This will be achieved through prudent fiscal management, debt sustainability measures, broadening the tax base and improving tax efficiency, as well as implementing Public Finance Management reforms. Government will design and implement sound monetary and flexible exchange rate policies for price and exchange rate stability while also strengthening the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), as well as financial governance institutions, such as the, Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG). Government will also strengthen and deepen Gambia’s financial sector to ensure that barriers in access to finance to the private sector, including for agriculture, women and youth are eliminated.
Modernizing our agriculture and fisheries for sustained economic growth, food and nutritional security and poverty reduction
Agriculture is a leading sector in The Gambia’s economy, contributing 20-30 percent of the nation’s GDP and employing most of the country’s poor. The poor performance of the sector has resulted in deepening rural poverty and stalled GDP growth, which is barely able to keep up with population growth. The goal for agriculture under the plan is a modern, sustainable and market-oriented agriculture and livestock sector for increased food and nutrition security, income and employment generation, poverty reduction and economic transformation.
Key interventions include an Agriculture Sector Policy and associated sub-sector policies to attract private sector investments; agriculture value chain development, including promotion of agri-business and agro-processing; rebuilding and revitalizing the agricultural market infrastructure through cooperatives and commodities exchanges; quality assurance mechanisms development to strengthen access to export markets; increased production and productivity using sustainable land and water management practices to address hunger and food security needs; research and development and extension to ensure that farmers have access to the latest technologies, irrigation, seeds and other inputs to enhance productivity; promotion of climate-smart agriculture to build resilience; pest and disease control, reduction of post-harvest losses, as well as inputs management. Increased support will be provided to the livestock sector through promotion of value chains; development of feed resources; and disease control.
Government will promote a vibrant fisheries and aquaculture sector through research, sustainable management and utilization of the fisheries resources that would enhance employment and create livelihood opportunities, generate income and foreign exchange earnings, and contribute to food, and nutrition security. In this regard, key interventions will address institutional development (human, policy and legislative, systems and tools); enhance fisheries infrastructure; and the improvement of value chains for fisheries and aquaculture.
Investing in our people through improved education and health services, and building a caring society
The Gambia has made modest advances in realizing the MDG targets on education, health, nutrition and WASH, but significant challenges remain. Under the plan, government will prioritize further investments to develop the country’s human capital through ensuring quality health and education, and making basic social services accessible and affordable to all and improving social and child protection systems for the most vulnerable.
Education: Government under the plan will focus on (i) enhancing access to early childhood education, (ii) improving quality learning, with special emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Health, Agriculture and special needs at the basic, post-secondary/tertiary and higher education levels, promote TVET and other skills enhancing initiatives to match the job market; and (iii) take measures to enhance access to non-formal education in order to build a more skilled and productive workforce.
Health, Nutrition and WASH: Government will focus on reducing maternal and newborn mortality, reducing the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and ensuring that the country has an appropriately skilled health workforce. The weak health governance and partnership framework will also be strengthened. In nutrition, government will take measures to improve the nutritional wellbeing of all Gambians, paying attention to mothers and children, including the use of the Baby-Friendly Community and Hospital Initiatives; Micronutrient Deficiency Control mechanisms; and use of IYCF practices to improve optimal infant and young child feeding. Under WASH, the plan will address improved, equitable access to safe and affordable water and sanitation, good hygiene practices, and environmental protection for all.
Social Protection: Key interventions on social protection will focus on building resilience and providing safety nets to address vulnerabilities by: Building Resilience through Social Transfer (BReST); cash transfer; improved leadership and coordination; strengthening child protection; and enhanced participation and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities.
Building our infrastructure and restoring energy services to power our economy
Energy and Electricity: The Gambia is facing an electricity crisis, with demand significantly higher than capacity – old dilapidated equipment, a dysfunctional policy
environment that is poorly adapted to attract private sector investment and a power corporation deeply indebted, are among the key challenges faced. The energy situation is a serious constraint on growth and transformation of the economy. Under the plan, government will focus on improving the policy and regulatory environment to attract investments into the energy sector, improve generation capacity, including the use of renewables and access to electricity and enhance household energy security and ensure secured petroleum resources to support national development.
Petroleum: To tap the potential for the new growth opportunity presented by petroleum, government will formulate and implement a sound exploration programme (permits and studies); design and establish a sound licensing regime (license model, sound tax schedules and environment management); formulate petroleum data management policies; review the Petroleum Exploration, Development, and Production Act 2004; and work towards security of supplies.
The transport sector: Government will make a major effort to enhance land, sea, and air transport to boost affordability, accessibility, and competitiveness. Major strategies are Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for infrastructural development; policy reforms; road network expansions; road safety; port expansion and innovative management models; airport improvement; and public works management. Completion of the national road network, its maintenance and expansion of the secondary feeder roads network to improve access in rural areas are key priorities of government under the plan.
Promoting an inclusive and culture-centered tourism for sustainable growth
Government’s goal is to make tourism a highly competitive and sustainable industry that is people and culture-centered that celebrates our cultural heritage and contributes to socio-economic development. Key interventions will focus on policy reforms in aid of competitiveness; marketing for destination recognition and attractiveness; quality service delivery; enhanced security; product diversity; enhanced community participation and greater linkages with other sectors especially agriculture and natural resources, as well as promotion of the Gambia’s biodiversity and rich culture through opening up the sector to rural and non-urban based locations. These measures will boost tourism arrivals, tap high-value market segments and contribute to jobs and economic diversification.
Reaping the demographic dividend through an empowered youth
Government is determined to realize its commitment to “leave no youth behind” as it recognizes that youth are the engines of growth and are an essential pillar for any development. The goal for the sector is therefore premised on “secured sustainable livelihood for youths through skills development, decent work and excellence in sports”. Under this theme, the major interventions include: creation of employment opportunities and entrepreneurial skills for Gambian Youth; strengthening institutional and technical capacity of youth services agencies; strengthening existing youth employment and entrepreneurship programmes; advocacy programmes and policy dialogue platforms on youth employment and entrepreneurship; a national youth development fund; entrepreneurship and skills development programmes for persons with disabilities, including financing; multi-purpose youth-friendly service centres across the country; increasing and improving young people’s access to quality health services including Sexual and Reproductive Health; incorporation of rights-based approach to youth planning and programming and the promotion of excellence in sports. Special programmes will be designed and implemented to facilitate the placing of returning youth migrants into productive employment and society.
Making the private sector and trade the engine of growth, transformation, and job creation
A vibrant private sector with significant growth in manufacturing, industry and trade contributions to economic growth and employment is envisaged under the plan. The key interventions will diversify local production by introducing high-value products such, as findi, moringa, sesame, honey, cashew and horticulture for both export and the domestic market; create market linkages focusing on building the quality infrastructure and hard infrastructure for agricultural products; enhance capacity for custom clearance and establishment of Single Window Custom Clearance system; diversify service export and strengthen trade in services data management; improve trade and investment negotiations; enhance consumer welfare through competitive markets; strengthen Weights and Measures Bureau; improve access to finance, and undertake tax reforms; undertake Investment incentives policy reforms; promote the Gambia brand; strengthen GIEPA; strengthen MSME and industry development, and create employment. Measures will also be taken to strengthen labour administration through review and implementation of the Labour Act and the Trade Union Act and regulations.
A public sector that is efficient and responsive to the citizenry
The new government’s bold reform agenda will require strong public institutions and civil service reform as an important priority. The goal of civil service reform is: efficient and responsive public-sector institutions. Ensuring appropriate remuneration, motivation and proper management of the public service; pay and pension reform; as well as the establishment of performance management systems constitute the major interventions of this critical enabler.