The European Union (EU) charge d'affaires to The Gambia last Thursday disclosed that a €10M (Ten million euro) has been earmarked for The Gambia's road sector programme.
Her Excellency Angnes Gulliand made the disclosure during the Second Consultative Meeting of Key Stakeholders on the Road Transport Sector of the 11th EDF held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi. She also explained that the proposal that includes the provisional funding for reinforcement and support to the governance of the road sector is due for approval by the member states at the end of this month.
She said that in close consultation among the key stakeholders, it is proposed that the programme also provides support to build up and strengthen the governance of the road transport sector, excluding additional investment. According to her, the work on the programming of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for The Gambia started almost a year ago with many consultations organised by the National Authorising Support Unit (NAO-SU) and the EU delegation in The Gambia.
She further stated that the National Indicative Programme is a document prepared by the Government of The Gambia and the EU in close cooperation with each other adding that the commencement of this exercise took place last year with a meeting held between the National Authorising officer and members of the National Authorising Support Unit, which resulted in a submission of a report to (NAOSU) concerning the identification of focal sectors for consideration. Madam Guilland added that based on this report and further discussions with the National Authorising officer (NAO) and his team, they have agreed to focus in National Indicative Programmes in the two sectors of agriculture for economic growth and food safety and governance in the transport sector.
She further stated that it is well known that in the past as well as at present, the Government of The Gambia has identified in its PRSP II as well as in the ongoing (PAGE 2012-2015) that the interconnectivity by road is a requirement to achieve most of its development goals. Guilland noted that substantial efforts have been made by the government with major support by the EU in this sector.
She however noted that the Government of The Gambia is well aware and has identified through its road transport policy that there are still major issues to be addressed in the governance of the sector, to be able to execute an efficient and sustainable management of the sector and in particular in the area of the maintenance of roads. She said in order to address these issues, additional financial support will be required. "As we understand there are limited funds from the African Development Bank, Kuwait and BADEA available for investment in the road infrastructure, including a not so limited investment recently approved by the AfDB, for the construction of the Trans-Gambian bridge in Farafenni," she added, while reassuring the EU's support to assist the Government of the Gambia in striving for development of the country.
Ebrima Darbo, director of Loans and Debt Management at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, who represented the National Authorising officer at the meeting, said the second pillar of the government's medium-term development strategy, the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE 2012-2015), is anchored on improving and modernising infrastructure with a particular emphasis and focus on reforming and strengthening the transport sector (Roads, Maritime, River and Air Transport). Darbo added that EUs consideration for the intervention in this sector is in tandem with the development aspirations of the government and people of The Gambia, noting that governance of the transport sector will ensure not only adequate access to the basic social services and markets, but will also provide an efficient institutional structure for road administration which can be of substantial value to the people of The Gambia.