The Finance and Economic Affairs minister has asserted that the Gambian economy is doing well despite global challenges, saying it is resilient to adapt and to respond to any possible challenges. He said the good news about the country' economy is that the expenditures on key social sectors; such as education, health and agriculture are paying dividends.
Minister Kebba Satou Touray, who recently spoke to the Daily Observer in an interview, said these gains have been possible because the country has a high percentage of educated, skilled and trained personnel in all sectors of economic advancement.
"Looking at the outlook ahead, the prospects are great. The building blocks are solid and the foundation has given confidence and trust that we should be able to sustain the economy in the longer run with the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty and improving the lives of the people," he said.
The health condition of the people, the minister continued, has improved because of more health facilities. This, he said, is key not only to the current growth level of the economy, but also sustainability, which is the focus of the government in ensuring that in the long term, they train skilled and well educated labour force and a healthy citizenry.
"Now our responsibility is to strengthen that and that is demonstrated by the pronouncement of the Vision 2016 food self-sufficiency agenda. Being self-sufficient in food production guarantees one's independence and your ability to sustain yourself. I think all the building blocks are in place and is left with the commitment and continuous implementation of sound policies," he asserted.
The Finance minister further underscored that the Gambian economy is vibrant and is growing at an impressive rate, making it one of the highest in the Sub-Saharan Africa. "Looking at the comparison analysis and what is happening in the region and sub-Saharan Africa, and the continent in particular, the economy is on a sound footing," he said.
However, Touray said there still remain challenges such as the effects of the international crisis on the economy. "The country is still dealing with the effects of the 2011 drought and because of this external and natural factors, the growth has slowed down less than anticipated," he explained.
Making comparisons between the economies of the First and the Second Republics of The Gambia, Touray described the difference as "astronomical".
"The level of economic, political and social developments achieved by the Second Republic in 20 years compared to 30 years is phenomenal," he maintained, citing quantum strides in sectors like education, health, infrastructure, tourism and agriculture.
More of Minister Kebba Satou Touray's interview will be published in the Daily Observer upcoming special July 22nd Revolution Magazine.