Gambia: 2012 Least Developed Countries' Report Launched

The 2012 Least Developed Countries (LDC) report was launched Wednesday at the Ocean Bay Hotel in Cape Point, Bakau, on the theme "Harnessing remittances and Diaspora knowledge to build productive capacities of Least Developed Countries".

The 162-page, five-chapter report basically looks at yielding benefits from brain drain for home countries. The report was launched by the United Nations system in The Gambia in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment and the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA).

Speaking at the launching, Ismaila Jarju, director of Research at the Central Bank of The Gambia , said there are strong efforts at thebank on how to enhance remittances in the country, as it plays a crucial role in Gambia's economy. He also told the gathering that the OEC reported in 2005 that global remittance rate jumped to over US$100M.

He also revealed that the CBG is working with the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) to help improve data on remittance. "Gambia is still at the developmental stage of reaching full potential of remittance data management," he added.

For her part, Naffie Barry, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, expressed hope that there will be more development on Gambia's remittance rate with close collaboration from stakeholders.

Delivering a power point presentation on the report, Samba Sallah from GIEPA said the average real rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of LDCs was 4.2% in 2011, down from 5.6% in 2010 and was also way below the 7.9% in 2002 to 2008.Trade in 2011, he said, increased by 23%, surpassing the pre-crisis level, while in contrast to that, private financial flows declined for three consecutive years which was offset by an increase in official flow. After peaking at almost US$19 billion in 2008, he said, FDI has been declining for three years and amounted to only 15 billion dollars in 2011.

Bai Ibrahim Jobe, the coordinator of Enhanced Integrated Framework at GIEPA, said Diaspora remittances play a very important role in many least developed countries.

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