19 November 2012

Gambia: Negotiations for NALWMD Project Sealed - Finance Minister

The minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has disclosed that the government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development have now concluded negotiations for the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development project (NALWMD).

Abdou Kolley, who was addressing the closing ceremony of the 7th Regional Forum of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for West and Central Africa held in The Gambia, explained that the aforementioned project seeks to enhance sustainable food security and raise income for smallholder farmers, particularly women and youth, by improving rice and vegetable production through land and water management practices.

The Finance minister hailed the cooperation and friendship between the government of The Gambia and IFAD, acknowledging the latter's long standing partnership and contribution to the development of the country. "IFAD currently has three active projects in its portfolio in The Gambia with total grant financing of US$25 Million," he disclosed.

On behalf of the government of The Gambia, Finance Minister Kolley welcomed IFAD's new approach for mainstreaming and harmonising interventions within national systems and processes for long term sustainability. Meanwhile, various speakers including IFAD's officials, who took turns to address the closing ceremony expressed good impressions about the Banjul forum, describing it as the "best organised so far."

The national coordinator of IFAD project in Nigeria, Abu Yusuf used the forum to commend the Gambia government for providing two special dinners to IFAD officials and participants; something he said showed the fruitful and cordial ties between the two countries. "People say 'small is beautiful'. The presence of the ministers and other very senior officials of The Gambia are exemplary; the friendly atmosphere created by the forum organisers, as well as the quietness, peace and un unpolluted environment made the event a memorable one," he stated.

Kankie then thanked the IFAD Gambia projects' managers for organising what he called the worthwhile field visit. He suggested that IFAD addresses its staff capacity gap and targets its future interventions on cluster of groups specialising on specific enterprises and domains in moving its programmes and projects.

A similar word of commendation to the Gambia government for the successful hosting of the forum was expressed by IFAD's senior portfolio adviser for West and Central Africa, Sylive Marzin. She assured of IFAD's continued support to the country in the coming years.

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