2 April 2014

Gambia: Economic Progress

editorial

The development prospect of any nation is dependent on its economy. Therefore, one would expect that the tremendous development transformation The Gambia has undergone since July 22, 1994 can only be credited to a parallel achievement in an economic sector that continues to receive clean bills of health from financial and monetary institutions around the world.

What was a traditionally agriculture-dependent economy has over the years manifested tendencies towards industrialisation, with the private sector being led by tourism, trading and fisheries, which are experiencing robust growth. Already, the banking and financial sector has been given a new outlook, with no sign of a halt to the inflow of more financial institutions. The policies instituted over the years by the government of President Jammeh have made possible an enormous growth in the sector. All these factors have enabled the country to progress, with the people provided with alternative sources of finance to suit their varying needs, all in the quest for national development.

It is therefore not surprising that the president in his state opening of parliament promised that the country would continue to witness more economic prosperity in the years ahead. We know for certain that over the years, our economic indicators have shown that the country's GDP is steadily growing at five and half per cent in real terms while annual inflation remain moderately elevated at about six per cent, reflecting food and fuel price pressure. Though the tourism sector is said to remain suppressed, owing to lingering effects of the economic slowdown in key European markets, it is expected to pick up. And the government has long manifested its intention to curb borrowing needs with the goal of achieving near-zero net domestic borrowing. These trends confirm the soundness of the economic policies of President Jammeh. It also shows that the country is advancing greatly towards the achievement of the national development blueprint -the Vision 2020. If such a steady economic expansion is sustained, there is no doubt that there exists the potential for the country to continue attracting more investors, leading to the establishment of more companies and creation of employment. What is therefore important is for the people to realise that the current leadership is directing the affairs of this country towards a sustainable future. The people should take ownership of the national development process so that collectively we can produce a better Gambia.

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